The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for the ‘Eucharist’ Category

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 69

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 2, 2016


A = St. Augustine.

Ay = Michael Ayguan.

B = St. Bruno of Aste.

C = Cassiodorus.

Cd = Balthazar Corderius.

D. C. = St. Dionysius the Carthusian.

G = Gerhohus.

H = St. Hilary.

L = Lorinus.

Lu = Ludolphus.

P = Parez.

R = Remigius of St. Germanus.

Z = Euthymius Zigabenus.


To the Chief Musician upon Shoshannim, a Psalm of David. LXX. and Vulgate: To the end, for them who shall be changed, a Psalm of David. Chaldee Targum: For praise; of the Captivity of the Sanhedrim, by the hands of David. Or, To the Supreme, for the Lilies, a Psalm of David.


Arg. Thomas. That Christ was given bitter gall and sharp vinegar to drink for our salvation. The Voice of Christ at the time of the Passion. This Psalm is to be read at the reading of the Prophet Jonah, and at the Gospel of S. John. The Voice of Christ to the Father, when He was suffering. Of the Passion of Christ, and the rejection of the Jews. A prayer for the Church.

Ven. Bede. To the end, every one knows, refers to Christ, “Who, by the very testimony of the Gospel, is about in this Psalm to narrate His Passion, by which believers shall he changed, putting off the old man, and putting on the new.

Throughout the Psalm Christ speaks in the form of a servant. In the first section He intreats that He may be saved by the Father, seeing that He is hated by the Jews without a cause. Save Me, O God, &c. In the second lie asks, on behalf of His members, that the hope of the faithful trusting in His Resurrection be not baulked, saying that He hath patiently borne whatever the ungodly laid on Him. God, Thou knowest My simpleness, &c. In the third place, He intreats that His prayer may be heard, so that His spotless conversation may be delivered from the mire of this world, saying that the Lord knoweth by what snares of the enemies He is beset, that He may arrive at the issue of His Passion, having overcome the peril. But, Lord, I make My prayer unto Thee. In the fourth place, through the power of His foreknowledge, He declares things to come, which may happen to His enemies. Let their table be made a snare to lake themselves withal, &c. Fifthly, in the form of a servant He calls Himself poor, whence He says that He will give thanks to His Father’s mercy, encouraging the faithful to trust in the Lord, Who hath delivered His Church from the adversity of this world, and hath provided therein for the eternal happiness of His Saints. When I am poor and in heaviness, Thy help, O God, shall lift Me up.

Syriac Psalter. Of David. Literally, when Sheba son of Bichri sounded with a trumpet, and the people refrained from going after David. And it is said to be a prophecy of Christ’s sufferings, and the reprobation of the Jews.

Eusebius Of Cæsarea. The sufferings of Christ, and the rejection of the Jews.

S. Athanasius. A Psalm in address alone.


1 Save me, O God: for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.

2 I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is: I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.

This Psalm, observes Cassiodorus, is the fourth of those which speak at length of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. (C.) And the fact of its being thrice cited in the New Testament in this sense, (A.) by the Apostles Peter, John, and Paul, does not permit us to doubt that its primary intention was Messianic prophecy. Save Me, O God. When Christ utters these words to His Father, (D. C.) He does not pray, as we must, to be delivered from sin, but from the sufferings of body and soul endured in His Passion. The waters are come in. And they may come in three ways: (P.) as a river torrent swollen with rains, as in a deep and muddy pool,* or as in a storm at sea. The first will denote the Jewish people, lashed into sudden fury by the secret instigations of the priests; the second the still, deadly hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees; the third, the fierce wrath of kings and rulers. Applied to the servants instead of to the Master, these waters denote temptations and persecutions threatening the very life of the Church, or of single members thereof. Even unto my soul. Of the Church, (L.) as when a ship has sprung a leak, or been filled by waves, and is sinking; of a man, when the waters have risen to his lips, and threaten suffocation. I stick fast in the deep mire. Yes; for if He had not taken upon Him the nature of man, a creature of clay, (G.) He would have been free from danger and pain; but because He had stuck fast therein, joining His Godhead for ever to it, therefore He endured suffering. And He came into the mire in another sense when, laid in the tomb, (D. C.) He gave His Body to the earth. Where no ground is. The Vulgate has it, where there is no substance. And they take it variously. It may be the poverty of Christ in His human life, when He stripped Himself of His glory; or it tells us of His death, (A.) when His soul was parted for a time from the substance of His Body; or, (G.) again, it may refer to the utter exhaustion of His wounded Form as He hung dying on the Cross. Spoken in the person of sinners, (D. C.) the deep mire most fitly denotes the slough of carnal sin into which men sink ever deeper by mere continuance, without any fresh volition on their own part, (Cd.) where there is no ground, no certain point of stoppage, and no real or lasting pleasure. I am come into deep waters. Like Jonah, (A.) He suffered Himself to be cast into the sea, for the salvation of those in His ship, and after three days came forth again, after the floods ran over Him. And He says deep waters, (D. C.) as contrasting with the height from which He descended into them, when He came down from heaven; nay, denoting that He penetrated down to hell itself. (Ay.) This peril of deep waters, wisely observes the Carthusian, (D. C.) may well be that of high rank and office, so that the storm and noise of worldly cares and duties, overwhelm peace of mind, clearness of devotion, and guard over the heart. And when the ship of any human soul is in peril through the waves and storm, if Christ be there, the terrified mariner has but to call on Him; if He be not there, then let the waters be baled out with holy fear and confession of sin,* lightened with almsgiving, and steadied with the anchor of hope, till He come to save. (L.)

3 I am weary of crying; my throat is dry: my sight faileth me for waiting so long upon my God.

Or, (G.) with the LXX. and Vulgate, I have toiled in crying. Not only in the Seven Words from the Cross, but in the long and thankless labour of preaching the kingdom of heaven to a gainsaying people; (Cd.) and in the prayer of His Agony, whereof the Apostle says, “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.”* My throat is dry. We nowhere read that this prophecy was literally fulfilled, though the Carthusian says that it must have been, from the toil, (D. C.) pain, and loss of blood which Christ endured, drying up the natural moisture of His Body; but we may well take it with S. Augustine, and those who follow him, (A.) that as the voice of one that is hoarse is scarcely audible or intelligible, so the Voice of Christ was unheard and misunderstood by the Jews. (Ay.) Ayguan, comparing that passage of the Apocalypse wherein it is said that a mighty angel “cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth.”* explains this crying as that of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and dwells at length on the ideas prevalent in his day touching the king of beasts, to find lessons of Christ in them. My sight faileth Me for waiting so long upon My God. The Vulgate: While I hope in My God. That is, as we may best take it, (L.) My bodily powers are weakened by the near approach of death, while my soul remains steadfast in its trust.

How fast His hands and feet are nailed,*

His blesséd tongue with thirst is tied,

His failing eyes are blind with blood,

Jesus, our Love, is crucified!

The LXX. reading, followed in some Latin Psalters, is, from hoping in My God. (A.) And this, observes S. Augustine, cannot be spoken by the Head of Himself, but in the person of His members only, of those Apostles whose faith and courage failed. So too the Body toils in crying when lamenting its own sins, (D. C.) when eagerly preaching the Gospel to others, when calling on God for pardon, for grace, for illumination, for amendment. And the Church becomes hoarse when her preaching, like her Lord’s, is unheeded, or when she is exhausted by toil or suffering; or again, when God tires her, by remaining long without giving an answer to her prayers.

4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: they that are mine enemies, and would destroy me guiltless, are mighty.

Which teaches that the enemies of the Saints are ever more numerous than the Saints themselves, (Ay.) who are, as it were, the hairs adorning the great Head of the Church, Who, like Samson,* placed His strength therein, and like Absalom, His beauty. And when these hairs were plucked out and shorn away by the martyrdoms of countless athletes, then the mocking Jews and heathen said, as the children to Elisha, “Go up, thou bald head,”* and were speedily punished for their sin. Of the latter clause in the verse S. Augustine observes that it is the very voice of martyrs, (A.) not in the punishment, but in the cause; for the mere suffering of persecution or death is not in itself praiseworthy, but to endure such things for a good cause. Christ’s enemies were mighty, (D. C.) for there were united against Him the religious influence wielded by the chief priests, and the civil power in the hands of Herod and Pilate. Mighty, too, are the enemies of the Church,—heathen emperors and persecutors in time past; unbelievers, heretics, schismatics, and false brethren in the present. Mighty are the enemies of our souls; “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”*

5 I paid them the things that I never took: God, thou knowest my simpleness, and my faults are not hid from thee.

Or, with the Vulgate, that I never robbed. For He paid the penalty of sin by His Death upon the Cross, (A.) being Himself without sin. And yet more, whereas the devil’s power is the produce of robbery, and Adam’s knowledge of good and evil came from robbery too, the power and wisdom of Christ are His own by Divine right, for “all power is given unto Him in heaven and earth;”* so that He, “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”* And He shares His glory with His members, as it is written, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”* My simpleness. Rather, with the LXX., Vulgate, and A. V., My foolishness. It is the Eternal Wisdom Who speaks. But “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.”* What was so much like foolishness as, when He had it in His power with one word to lay low the persecutors, (A.) to suffer Himself to be held, scourged, spit upon, buffeted, to be crowned with thorns, to be nailed to the Tree? It is like foolishness, but this foolish thing excelleth all wise men. And it is true of every Saint who has given up all for Christ, of whom the wicked shall one day exclaim, “This was he whom we had some time in derision, and a proverb of reproach: we fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour: how is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the Saints!”* But the words also are true of sinners, (D. C.) who are wise in their own conceits, with that wisdom which is foolishness with God, disobeying His commandments, serving the vices of the body, neglecting the salvation of their souls. My faults are not hid from Thee. It is the Most Holy Who speaks. (R.) He speaks as He was judged by man: “This Man is not of God, because He keepeth not the Sabbath day;”* “We know that this Man is a sinner;” and again, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies?”* It is spoken of Saints also, who do not attempt to hide their sins from God, (Ay.) but confess them openly with hearty repentance and humility. Of sinners, moreover, because their refusal to confess and amend cannot shelter them from the all-seeing eyes of God.

6 Let not them that trust in thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my cause: let not those that seek thee be confounded through me, O Lord God of Israel.

Herein Christ prays against that which was the great peril of weak souls in the first days of the Church,* the offence of the Cross, the scorn heaped upon those who worshipped the Crucified; to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Greeks foolishness. The Vulgate, however, reads, them that wait for Thee. (Ay.) And they take it of the Fathers waiting in Hades till Christ should come to set them free, on whose behalf He prays that He may rise again from death, that they may not be disappointed of their hope. And as in the first part of the verse He intreats that His people may not fail from weakness within, so, in the latter clause, (G.) His petition is that they may not be overcome by revilings and persecutions from without, but that, when they look for Him with prayer and holiness, it may be said to them as to the women at the sepulchre, “Fear not, for I know that ye seek Jesus.”*

7 And why? for thy sake have I suffered reproof: shame hath covered my face.

For Thy sake. Where note, that all Christ’s words and works were to the end of increasing the honour of His Father in the hearts of men; (Ay.) wherefore He reproved sin, preached holiness, and worked miracles, that they might believe His sayings. And He indeed suffered reproof, for they said of Him, “Behold a man gluttonous and a wine-bibber,”* and “Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil.”* Shame covered His Face when He was buffeted, and blindfolded, and spit upon, and at last dragged to the most ignominious of deaths. (G.) And this is the cry of the Bride also. For His sake the Martyrs contended to the death; for His sake the Confessors bore not only spoiling of their goods, chains, and torture, but what was harder, the reproach of worshipping with foul and sanguinary orgies, rather than reveal to the mockery of the heathen the mystery of the Holy Eucharist; for His sake the Virgins bore to be dragged to dens of infamy, to stand, stripped of their garments, a mark for the insulting and cruel stare of eighty thousand spectators.

8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren: even an alien unto my mother’s children.

It was bitterly true when the chief of His brethren, (B.) the Prince of His Apostles, “began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this Man of whom ye speak,”* It was true also on the way to Emmaus, when the eyes of His two disciples were holden, and Cleopas said, “Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem?”* An alien unto My mother’s children.* As Joseph’s brethren sold him into Egypt, and knew him not when he became ruler of the land, (G.) so the children of the Synagogue rejected Christ, giving Him over to the Gentiles, and confessed Him not when He became Head of the Church gathered from the heathen. And the Jews did not even admit His Hebrew descent. They said to Him, “Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan?”* They said of Him, “As for this fellow, we know not from whence He is.”* More literally still, we read, “Neither did His brethren believe in Him.”*

9 For the zeal of thine house hath even eaten me: and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me.

We have the comment of the Apostles themselves on the first part of this verse; for we read, that when Jesus drove the sellers of oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers out of the temple with a scourge of small cords, then “His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.”* And therefore it was that He became an alien to His Mother’s children, (Ay) because they would not endure His severity, but rejected Him for interfering with their gains, as did also the Gergesenes, when He suffered the devils to destroy their swine.* The latter clause has also an inspired gloss, for S. Paul says, “For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me.”* And that, (A.) because whoso knoweth Christ knoweth the Father also; (G.) because whoso insults an ambassador, dishonours also the King from whom he comes: a King, moreover, Who hath said, “They will reverence My Son.”* There is another sense in which it may be truly said that Christ is eaten up with zeal for His Father’s House. (L.) For in His great love for the Church He desires to edify it in all ways, and especially by giving Himself in the Holy Eucharist to be the Food of believers, so that He is therein eaten up. (D. C.) The whole verse may well be applied, as by the Carthusian, to those who have been raised up at different times as reformers of abuses in the Church, and especially in the Religious Life, and who, like S. Gregory VII.,—and in far later days S. Teresa, and the not less holy Mère Angelique of Port Royal,—have been subjected to all manner of hostility and slander in consequence.

10 I wept, and chastened myself with fasting: and that was turned to my reproof.

The LXX. (in some copies) and Vulgate here read, I covered my soul with fasting.* David did so, observes a Saint, that he might clothe it with true abundance; for in this wise we learn that such fasting, as is abstinence from sin, is a garment of the soul.* Gluttony, observes another, makes men naked; fastings clothe even the stripped, and that is a good covering which shelters the soul from the tempter. (L.) Where note, that it is not spoken of mere bodily or external abstinence, for that does not cover the soul. Our Blessed Lord covered His soul with fasting, (Ay.) when His continual abstinence of forty days caused the devil to doubt if He were Very Man Who could so endure.* And He covered His Godhead from men, by abstaining from putting out His strength to punish His enemies, (B.) and that for the purpose of giving an example of patience. And He had a yet sorer fast than either of these,—His unappeased hunger and thirst for the salvation of sinners, (R.) whom He yet found to reject His offers, and even to deliver Him over to death. And His fasting was turned to His reproof when it encouraged the devil, (D. C.) seeing Him so destitute of all succour, to tempt Him to vain confidence and idolatry; and when His human enemies cried out, “He saved others, let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the Chosen of God.”*

11 I put on sackcloth also: and they jested upon me.

That sackcloth was the form of a servant, (A.) the Manhood of poverty and suffering, which men scorned and derided. And as sackcloth is the garb of mourning, (C.) it tells also of His sorrows Who wept over Jerusalem and at the grave of Lazarus.* Beda, following the Vulgate reading, haircloth, observes that goats, (Ay.) of whose hair such texture is made, (P.) are the symbol of guilt; and that Christ, by taking sinners close to His side, (D. C.) and joining them in one body, does, as it were, clothe Himself with them. And many recount a legend that the seamless coat was of haircloth, and the customary garb of Christ.* Agellius declares that it was customary to wrap a piece of coarse sackcloth round the loins of those about to be crucified, that they might be fastened more securely, and that this passage is thus a prophecy of the last stage of the Passion. They jested upon Me. LXX. and Vulgate, I became a parable unto them; or better, as A. V., a proverb. Whereupon some take occasion to point out, that as the Lord taught chiefly by parables, (C.) so He may be said to have been Himself a parable to His disciples. But the plainer sense, an object of ridicule, is more generally followed.

12 They that sit in the gate speak against me: and the drunkards make songs upon me.

The sitters in the gate, according to primeval Eastern usage, are the elders and rulers of the city, (G.) and here, as all the commentators agree, it is used of the chief priests. The drunkards are variously explained. Some apply it to those Jews who, having just been quaffing the Paschal wine-cups on the night of Maundy Thursday, hastened from their feast to the house of Annas, to join in reviling Christ. Again, it is said by another, following literally the Vulgate, they who drank the wine, (Ay.) to refer to a brutal jest of the soldiers employed at the Crucifixion, swallowing themselves the spiced wine prepared for the sufferers to deaden their sense of pain, and substituting vinegar in its stead. The prophecy was true in another sense at a later day, when not only was the Arian heresy encouraged by the chiefs of the State, but the ribald songs of the heresiarch’s own Thalia, directed against the Consubstantial, were trolled in the wine-shops of Alexandria.

13a (13) But, Lord, I make my prayer unto thee: in an acceptable time.

13b (14) Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy: even in the truth of thy salvation.

That acceptable time was when the good seed which had fallen into the ground, and was lying buried, (A.) should spring up again in the new life of the Resurrection. (G.) Or it may be taken of Christ’s prayer in His Passion, because in that Passion were three things well pleasing to God: first, the absolution of sinners, in Christ’s Blood, (Ay) for “to depart from wickedness is a thing pleasing unto the Lord;”* secondly, union and love between neighbours, also brought about by the Cross, for “in three things was I beautified—the unity of brethren, the love of neighbours, a man and his wife that agree together;”* thirdly, the faith of the devout, which He in His Passion prayed might not fail; for “faith and meekness are His delight.”* And the Carthusian will not limit it even thus, but declares that the acceptable time, (D. C.) the day of salvation, was the whole period of Christ’s sojourn upon earth. In the multitude of Thy mercy, (Ay.) whereby Thou hast sent Me into the world to save it, hear Me in the promised truth of Thy salvation, that My Atonement may redeem mankind, and My Resurrection justify all believers, and the sayings of the prophets thus be fulfilled.

14 (15) Take me out of the mire, that I sink not: O let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

Out of the mire. That is, (G.) deliver Me from the ungodly and treacherous Jews, from the sorrows and cares of My weary life, from the corruptibility of My human Body, (D. C.) from the depth of the grave. Out of the deep waters, from the troubles and persecutions which encompass Me. When the sinner utters these same words, his prayer is to be delivered from carnal sin and worldly greed within his own soul, and from outward troubles and sufferings which may shake his faith. He saith this, because of the infirmity of His members. “Whenever thou art seized by one that urgeth thee to iniquity, (A.) thou art in body fixed in the deep clay; but so long as thou consentest not, thou hast not stuck.

15 (16) Let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up: and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.

He had said already in the beginning of the Psalm that the floods run over Him. (A.) It hath drowned after the flesh, let it not drown after the spirit. And it is thus throughout a prayer for the Resurrection. Let not the water-flood drown Me, but rather be a wall to Me on each side as I pass over Jordan with the staff of My Cross. Neither let the deep swallow Me up, by My Body lying to moulder in the grave unto corruption; (Ay.) and let not the pit shut her month upon Me, to hold Me prisoned in Hades; but open before Me as I return in triumph, leading the ransomed Fathers back with Me to light and glory. The sinner may use these words, too, of a spiritual resurrection from the grave of iniquity, (A.) and he will find that, so long as he is willing to confess his guilt, the mouth of the pit will not close over him; but when he attempts to excuse himself,* then it shuts.

16 (17) Hear me, O Lord, for thy loving-kindness is comfortable: turn thee unto me according to the multitude of thy mercies.

The Head herein teaches His members how to pray, (C.) namely, that they are to plead with God His loving-kindness, (A.) and not their own merits; to deal with them according to the multitude of His mercies, not according to that of their sins. And it is the reason given by the prophet Joel, “Turn unto the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.”* Ayguan, not unwilling to show his learning, (Ay.) cites here various examples from Roman history, as parables of God’s loving-kindness in Christ. The aptest of them is the story of Panopion’s slave, who, learning that his master was proscribed, and the soldiers come to find him, changed clothes with him, let him out by a private door, lay down on Panopion’s bed, and was stabbed in his place.* Who, asks Ayguan. is that proscribed Panopion, but man exiled from Paradise by the sin of our first parents? Who is that faithful and loving slave, but the Son of God, Who emptied Himself of His glory, and took on Him the form of a servant? That He might save us from the pains of hell, He changed His garb with us, and was found in fashion as a man, and suffered Himself to be slain for us.

17 (18) And hide not thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble: O haste thee and hear me.

The word in the LXX. and Vulgate may be rendered not only servant, but child. (D. C.) And it thus points at once to Him Who is the Only-begotten of His Father, and Who is also pure and meek as a little child. (C.) Most truly a servant also, not only by His having taken on Him the nature of man, and being, so far, inferior to the Father, but by His perfect obedience. (G.) He then, Who only can look on the Face of God, before which even the Seraphim must veil theirs, prays that it may not be hidden from Him, (A.) Who merits to be heard because of His unstained holiness. And every penitent who has become as a little child in humility may use these words too, for though “God resisteth the proud, He giveth grace to the humble.”*

18 (19) Draw nigh unto my soul, and save it: O deliver me, because of mine enemies.

These words form the Versicle and Response prefixed to the Lauds of Passiontide in the Sarum Breviary. (A.) It is not for Himself that He asks to be delivered, but for His enemies; (G.) for the thief who reviled Him, for the soldier who pierced Him, for the nation that rejected Him, that by His being delivered from the grave, they may be converted and believe in Him. And for those who harden themselves also, that they may be weakened and confounded when they find all their plottings vain. (D. C.) And observe, that whereas the priests were His chief enemies, yet after the day of Pentecost we read that a great company of them became obedient unto the Faith. (A.) God, however, delivers in two ways: sometimes He delivers the soul alone from, the peril of sin, allowing the body to perish, as with the Seven Maceabees and the Christian martyrs—this is hidden deliverance; sometimes He delivers from bodily dangers also, as the three children from the fiery furnace,—and this is open deliverance. And both these deliverances are for the sake of the enemies as well as for that of the faithful, that they may see, like Antiochus, that the constancy of the saints cannot be overcome; that they may worship, like Nebuchadnezzar, the God Who can save to the uttermost.

19 (20) Thou hast known my reproof, my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all in thy sight.

My reproof, (Ay.) in the words of insult addressed to Me by the Jews, calling Me a demoniac, a glutton, and a winebibber. My shame, outer, indeed, and before men only, not of the soul before God, in that I have been bound, scourged, condemned, and crucified as a robber. My dishonour, the stripes and spitting. Or, with the Vulgate rendering, My reverence, (G.) the mock coronation, and jeering homage of the soldiery. Mine adversaries are all in Thy sight. And unless Thou deliver Me openly, they will not know why I suffer these things, (A.) and will neither be confounded nor corrected; though they have increased their sin by committing it before Thee.

20 (21) Thy rebuke hath broken my heart; I am full of heaviness: I looked for some to have pity on me, but there was no man, neither found I any to comfort me.

There is no authority whatsoever for the word Thy in the Prayer Book Version here. It is not in the Hebrew, nor in any other translation, and is quite out of keeping with all the context. In the true reading, that of the A. V., Reproach hath broken My heart, we may well see a reference to that notion, so often upheld by Saints, that the immediate cause of the Redeemer’s death was not the Crucifixion, but a heart broken by man’s ingratitude; whence it was that the soldiers marvelled at finding Him dead before His fellow-sufferers. And at the least we may take it, with the old Dutch poet, of the spear-wound in His side (sorry, I cannot translate this):

Doc gî anc t-cruce gestorven waert,

Quam dacr een ridder ongespaert,*

Die u met ênen spere stac

Ene wonde, dat u t-herte brae

In uwe sîde, ende ût-en steke

Ran bloet ende water als een beke.

The Vulgate, however, (G.) reads, My heart hath expected rebuke and misery. Not only did that loving Heart foresee and expect its coming sorrows, but longed for them, saying, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover,”* although the weakness of our human nature was such as to make the expectation bring on the Agony and Bloody Sweat. (D. C.) The Syriac Psalter here reads, beautifully, if inexactly, Heal the breaking of My heart, and bind it up. And we may take it either as a prayer of Christ to His Father, intreating for the joy of the Resurrection, or of the sinner seeking refuge with the Saviour. I looked for some one to hare pity on Me, but there was no man. The Hebrew, followed by the Vulgate, goes deeper than this, and reads, to be sorrowful with Me. (A.) That is, it was not merely pity, but sympathy, for which the Saviour looked in vain. Sorrow there was, and that abundantly, amongst His disciples, but not the closer bond of fellow-feeling. They mourned for His death, whereas their mourning should have been, as His was, for His murderers slaying their Healer. Even His Mother, though the sword of grief passed through her heart, (G.) and His Apostles, whose sorrow, because true and praiseworthy, was soon to be turned into joy, did not rise to this height, nor attain to the likeness of His sorrow. Neither found I any to comfort me. By repenting at the sight of My patient suffering, and coming to Me, the Physician, to be healed. Nay, observes another, His very Godhead, because impassible, was no help to His Manhood in the Passion,* and did not comfort It nor suffer with It, any more than the sunshine suffers when a piece of wood on which its rays are falling is chopped up.

21 (22) They gave me gall to eat: and when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink.

The literal fulfilment of this double prediction in the successive acts of the soldiers who, before the Crucifixion, “gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall, and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink;”* and again when He, upon the Cross, said, “I thirst,” “filled, a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth,”* has been most justly dwelt on by all commentators. But they find spiritual mysteries underlying the letter. (G.) In the refusal of the mingled cup first offered, they see His rejection of the double-minded, whose good is corrupted by evil. Such were Judas, whose confession, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,”* though wine, was mingled with the gall of bitterness and despair; and Simon Magus, whose request for the prayers of the Apostles was also uttered in the “gall of bitterness.”* But in His acceptance of the vinegar offered on the sponge is discerned His welcome to the bitter penitence of a contrite heart, like that of Peter weeping for his fall: where note, that one who drinks from a sponge, does not drain it like a cup, but leaves some of the contents behind. And so Christ, in accepting a sinner’s penitence, does not drain his heart of it, but takes only so much as He knows to be profitable. Why it should be said, They gave Me gall to eat, rather than to drink, (seeing that no solid food was offered to the Lord,) is a question which the early commentators discuss at length. They accept, for the most part, the explanation of S. Augustine, who, translating literally, They gave gall into My food, glosses thus: Because already the Lord God had taken food, (A.) and into it there had been thrown gall. But He Himself had taken pleasant food when He ate the Passover with His disciples: therein He showed the Sacrament of His Body. Unto this Food, so pleasant, so sweet, of the Unity of Christ, of which the Apostle makes mention, saying, “For we being many, are one bread, and one body,”*—unto this pleasant Food who is there that addeth gall, except the gainsayers of the Gospel, like those persecutors of Christ? For the Jews sinned less in crucifying Him Who walked on earth, than they that despise Him seated in heaven. That which the Jews did there, in giving above the food which He had already taken that bitter draught to drink, the same do they that by evil living bring scandal upon the Church,—the same do embittered heretics. They give gall after such, pleasant meat.

22 (23) Let their table be made a snare to take themselves withal: and let the things that should have been for their wealth be unto them an occasion of falling.

And they note, (G) that as Christ’s table was made a snare for Him by those who bribed one of them who dipped with Him in the dish at the Paschal Supper, so the horrors of the siege (Ay.) of Jerusalem by Titus were mainly due to the blockade beginning just as the city was thronged for the Passover, * so that not only the ordinary population, but crowds of Jews from all parts of the Empire, were taken as in a snare. The words hold good also of the spiritual table of Holy Writ, (L.) which proved a snare to the Jews by their misinterpretation of its Messianic prophecies. (P.) Where observe further that every chastisement which fell on the Jews corresponded exactly to some one of their outrages against Christ. They rebelled against Him, the promised King and Messiah, saying, “We have no King but Cæsar.”* It as the harsh rule of Cæsar’s soldiers which drove them into the rebellion which was their destruction. They betrayed Christ at the Passover: it was at the Passover they were besieged.* They crucified Christ at Paschaltide itself, and gave Him vinegar and gall: they suffered all the tortures of famine themselves, and ate their Passover in bitterness. They blindfolded Christ, smote Him, and bade Him prophesy: they were blinded themselves in ignorance, and unable to behold the mysteries of Scripture. They laid the Cross on His shoulders: on their own was laid the yoke of slavery. And as they raged against Christ, crying, “Crucify, crucify,” so almost every year the people are excited against them, rob and murder them.1 They cast Christ out of the city to crucify Him, and were cast out of their own city themselves, and scattered over the world. We may add, as Josephus says, that such of them as attempted to escape from the city were crucified in such numbers, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies.

23 (24) Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not: and ever bow thou down their backs.

Blinded to the true meaning of Scripture, (L.) bowed down under the weight of the Law. And S. Augustine compares the attitude of Jews and Christians towards the truth to the spies carrying the grapes on the pole.* The Jews go first, counting themselves to have the pre-eminence, but not seeing the precious freight, and even turning their backs upon it; while the Christian, coming behind, beholds and worships.

They who were grace-expectant, they who lived and died in grace,

They who saw Christ far off, and they who see, though veiled,

His Face—

Those went before: these follow, they are all one brotherhood,

And in the midst the True Vine hangs upon the Holy Rood.
(This is from a poem, The True Vine. The author is unknown to me but I believe he is Anglican. “Holy Rood” is an Old English word meaning “Holy Cross”)

Like the men of Sodom, whom the angels smote with blindness when they endeavoured to break into the house of Lot, the Jews, under the curse, were unable to find Christ, Who is the Door. (G.) We see the prayer fulfilled in mercy when Saul was blinded on his way to Damascus, and that stiff neck was bowed beneath the yoke of his Conqueror.

24 (25) Pour out thine indignation upon them: and let thy wrathful displeasure take hold of them.

25 (26) Let their habitation be void: and no man to dwell in their tents.

Pour out, not drop by drop, but in a flood of vengeance. And they note the difference between indignation, (G.) (ira,) which God always shows against sin, when He corrects the offender with His chastisements, and wrathful displeasure, (Ay.) (furor iræ,) which is the punishment dealt out to hardened impenitence. Let their habitation be void. It is taken first by S. Peter of the traitor Judas, in whose person the prophecy was first accomplished, since the field bought with the price of blood was inhabited only by the dead.* (L.) For a yet wider fulfilment we must look not merely to the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and the raising of Ælia Capitolina on another site, but to the decree of Hadrian, after the suppression of Bar-Cochab’s revolt, forbidding all Jews to approach near enough to Jerusalem even to behold its former site from any neighbouring hill.* In their tents. Not only so far as they are a community is ruin to fall on them, (G.) but even solitary dwellings are to share the fate of the city, that the vengeance may be at once universal and particular. Or the habitation may well refer to the Temple, left void when the mysterious sound of an unseen departing multitude was heard, saying, “Let us go hence.” And as the Feast of Tabernacles, when tents or booths were erected by the Jews, was no more to be kept in the Holy City, it is well said that no man should dwell in their tents.* Ayguan, interpreting the tents or tabernacles of the souls of the unbelieving Jews, well says, (Ay.) that as the Man was not suffered to dwell therein, they were given over to evil spirits of darkness and sin. “Owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”*

26 (27) For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten: and they talk how they may vex them whom thou hast wounded.

What then was their sin, (A.) asks S. Augustine, if they did but carry on, as it were, God’s work? The Master of the Sentences answers the question well: Christ was delivered up by the Father, delivered up by Himself, by Judas, and by the Jews.* What then is the difference between the cases? It is that the Father and Son acted out of love, Judas from treachery, (B.) the Jews from hate. And it is truly said, Whom Thou hast smitten, for God smote the Saviour first in giving Him a mortal and passible Body, and then by giving Him up as a Sacrifice for us; as it is written, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him: He hath put Him to grief;”* and again, “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”* They talk how they may vex them whom Thou hast wounded. The Hebrew is rather, They talk of the grief of Thy wounded. That is, they gloat over the details of the sufferings of Him Whom they “did esteem stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,”* and of those indicted on the martyrs who trod in His steps. But the LXX. and Vulgate have, They added unto the pain of My wounds, (doubtless reading חֲלָלָי יָסְפוּ instead of חֲלָלֶיךָ יְסַפֵּרוּ,) and this by blasphemy and the insults of the soldiery in My own Person, (Lu.) and by afflicting the faithful of My Church, so that I suffer in My members also. And note, observes S. Albert, that we may crucify the Saviour afresh in four ways. First, by afflicting His poor, according to His own saying in S. Peter’s vision, “I go to Rome to be crucified again,” because “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”* Next, by depriving His ministers of their due assistance. “Ye have robbed [Vulg., ye pierce] Me, even this whole nation.* But ye say, Wherein have we robbed [Vulg., do we pierce] Thee? In tithes and offerings.” Thirdly,* by making light of the Sacrament, “seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”* Fourthly, by apostatizing from the right way, and especially from the promise, “before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you.”*

27 (28) Let them fall from one wickedness to another: and not come into thy righteousness.

28 (29) Let them be wiped out of the book of the living: and not be written among the righteous.

From the wickedness of slaying the messengers of the Lord of the vineyard to that of killing His Son; (A.) from the wickedness of killing that Son, (D. C.) counting Him a mere man, to that of outraging the Son of God. And not come into Thy righteousness, because the only door into that is faith, from which in their perversity they turn away to their sins. (A.) Let them be wiped out of the book of the living. Had they ever been written therein? Brethren, we must not so take it as that God writeth any one in the Book of Life, and blotteth him out. If a man said, “What I have written, I have written,”* concerning the title where it had been written “King of the Jews,” doth God write any one, and blot him out? He foreknoweth. He hath predestined all before the foundation of the world that are to reign with His Son in life everlasting. These He hath written down; these same the Book of Life doth contain. Lastly, in the Apocalypse, what saith the Spirit of God, when the Scripture is speaking of Antichrist’s oppressions? “All shall worship him whose names are not written in the Book of Life.”* So then, doubtless, they who are written will not do so. How, then, are these men blotted out of that book wherein they were never written? It hath been said of their hopes, because they thought themselves to be written. Let it be plain even to themselves that they are not therein. And then to be written among the righteous will mean to be numbered amongst the citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Others refer the verse to temporal chastisements, so that the book of the living means simply the muster-roll of those yet upon earth, (H.) out of which death blots each man in his turn; and the number of the righteous such a catalogue of illustrious men as that contained in the Book of Ecclesiasticus.* Bellarmine, objecting to S. Augustine’s view as merely evading the difficulty of reconciling the blotting out with eternal predestination, and to the merely temporal explanation as involving a contradiction between the members of the verse, explains it of the Book of the people of God,* wherein His true worshippers are enrolled; once filled with the name of the Jewish nation, but now, on its erasure, containing the Gentiles instead. And he aptly cites Ezekiel’s prophecy, “They shall not be in the assembly of My people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel.”*

29 (30) As for me, when I am poor and in heaviness: thy help, O God, shall lift me up.

Poor, in taking on Himself our human nature, thus emptying Himself of His glory, in heaviness, (or with the LXX. and Vulgate, suffering,) upon the Cross.* Shall lift Me up, (Z.) in the might of My Resurrection, in the glory of My Ascension. And not in My own Person alone, (G.) but lifting up with Me the members whose Head I am.

31 I will praise the Name of God with a song: and magnify it with thanksgiving.

32 This also shall please the Lord: better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

They see in these words the joy of the Resurrection, and the greater pleasure felt by God in the voluntary praise of a rational being, (A.) than in the sacrifice of a brute animal, incapable of self-dedication. (G.) The Vulgate reading in the latter clause is, A young steer, putting forth its horns and hoofs; that is, not yet fully ready for the yoke of Christ, (A.) but going on in obedience, and having horns for His violent enemies, and hoofs to tread under those who grovel in earthly desires. (G.) Gerhohus dwells at length on this simile, and instances Moses in his early efforts in favour of his countrymen in Egypt; Peter, in his smiting of Malchus; Saul, in his first persecuting zeal; and even our Lord Himself, while yet increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man, as when He sat in the midst of the doctors, and again, when He purged the temple at the beginning of His ministry. (B.) S. Bruno the Carthusian adopts this last view for another reason. In the steer he sees the Victim for the Sacrifice; in the epithet young or new (novellus) he recognises the New Man, (Ay.) the Second Adam. Ayguan, going yet deeper, sees in this sacrifice of thanksgiving, attended with song, and preferable to animal victims, the Oblation of the Gospel, the most Holy Eucharist, dearer to God than all sacrifice besides. And because this is so—

Tantum ergo Sacramentum

Veneremur cernui,*

Et antiquum documentum

Novo cedat ritui;

Præstet fides supplementum,

Sensuum defectui.

(This is, of course, from the famous hymn by St Thomas Aquinas, Pange Lingua. Text and translation here).

32 (33) The humble shall consider this, and be glad: seek ye after God, and your soul shall live.

The humble, (Ay.) that is, in the first place, the Apostles, and then all that are poor in station and lowly in heart since their day; and they will be glad, because the abolition of the old sacrifices, and the acceptance of a spiritual service in their stead, has removed one advantage which the rich had over the poor under the Law. They can seek God directly in the Eucharist, and feeding there on Him, their soul shall live. Wherefore we cry to Him—

O panis dulcissime,

O fidelis animæ

Vitalis refectio!

O Paschalis Victimæ

Agne mansuetissime,

Legalis oblatio.

O sweetest bread,
O repast of the faithful
And living soul!
O Paschal Victim,
Lamb most gentle,
Lawful sacrifice.

33 (34) For the Lord heareth the poor: and despiseth not his prisoners.

And as He had pity on the children of Israel, (G.) and brought them out of the bondage of Egypt, so He looks on sinners even now, and looses them from the chains of their sins. (Ay.) Those who are willing so to be freed by Him are His prisoners, because they are held captive by the devil against their will. And all Saints who submit themselves to His commandments, keeping them strictly, are, in another sense, His prisoners also. Yet, again, we may take it of all men who are tied down on earth by their bodies. Or it may be fitly taken of the Fathers who waited in Hades for the Coming of Christ, whom Zechariah styles by this same: title.* We may extend the application of the verse, and its connection with the two preceding ones, yet further, and explain it of the Holy Eucharist, as a propitiation for the living and the dead. And so the Missal of Liege:

King of Glory, hear our voices,*

Grant Thy faithful rest, we pray;

We have sinned, and may not bide it,

If Thou mark our steps astray;

Yet we plead that saving Victim

Which for them we bring to-day.

So far, the confession of sin is a prayer to the Lord, Who heareth the poor. Then follows:

That which Thou Thyself hast offered

To the Father, offer we;

Let it win for them a blessing,

Bless them, Jesu, set them free:

They are Thine, they wait in patience,

Merciful and gracious be.

(Anonymous. The Missal of Liege was first published in 1502)

That is, He despiseth not His prisoners.

34 (35) Let heaven and earth praise him: the sea, and all that moveth therein.

The heaven, (P.) because the ranks of the angelic hierarchies, left incomplete by the fall of the rebels, have been filled up; the earth, because man is ransomed; the sea, because the glad tidings of salvation have spread to the islands afar. (B.) Let the heaven of His chief Saints, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, praise Him; (G.) let the earth of believing Jews, less exalted, do the like: let the sea of Gentiles, coming from the ends of the earth, and compassing the Jews round as a sea, join in the hymn. All creeping things therein, is the Vulgate reading; and they take it of weak and imperfect Christians, who, nevertheless, are encouraged to add their voices to swell the praises of God.* Let heaven praise Christ, for He ascended; let earth praise Him, for He rose again; let the sea praise Him, for He walked upon its surface.

35 (36) For God will save Sion, and build the cities of Judah: that men may dwell there, and have it in possession.

36 (37) The posterity also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his Name shall dwell therein.

It is spoken first of the Church Militant, saved by its Founder, (C.) so that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it; and of the various local Churches forming parts of that one, (as the branching chapels of a great cathedral are portions of one harmonious whole, (Ay.)) and fitly styled cities of Judah, as springing out of the Hebrew dispensation. Men shall dwell there, as not being mere sojourners or temporary worshippers, and have it for a possession, enjoying full membership as their very own, instead of the imperfect position allowed to proselytes of Gentile race by the Jews. The posterity of His servants, not necessarily their literal offspring, but those spiritually begotten in the Gospel, and continuing in the same belief and zeal as the first Fathers of the infant Church.

And we may also take the verses of the Church Triumphant, saved by the constant addition of new names to its roll-call, new stones to its buildings. Then the cities of Judah will denote those orders of angels who serve the Lion of the tribe of Judah, whose ranks, thinned by the fall of Lucifer and his hosts, will be filled up with redeemed mortals; and thus the cities shall be built, the waste places repaired, while the eternal tenure of blessedness in heaven is expressed by the words, They shall have it for a possession.


Glory be to the Father, to Whom the God-Man cried, Save Me, O God; and to the Son, Jesus Christ, praying for Himself and His members to be saved and delivered from the floods; and to the Holy Ghost, Who is that love and salvation wherewith God shall save Sion, and whereby all that love His Name shall dwell therein.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.


Gregorian. Ferial. Thursday. Matins. [Maundy Thursday. I. Nocturn.]

Monastic. Ferial. Wednesday. Matins. [Maundy Thursday. I. Nocturn.]

Parisian. Friday. Matins.

Lyons. As Gregorian.

Ambrosian. Ferial. Monday of the Second Week. III. Nocturn. [Maundy Thursday. Matins.]

Quignon. Friday. Matins.

Eastern Church. Saturday. Nocturns.


Gregorian. Ferial. O Lord God, * haste Thee to deliver me. [Maundy Thursday. The zeal of Thine house hath even eaten me, * and the rebukes of them that rebuked Thee are fallen upon me.]

Monastic. Ferial. Alleluia. [Septuag. Seek ye after God, * and your soul shall live. Maundy Thursday. As Gregorian.]

Parisian. In Thy sight * are all mine adversaries: my heart hath waited for reproach, and misery.

Lyons. Ferial. Seek ye after God, * and your soul shall live. [Maundy Thursday. As Gregorian.]

Ambrosian. Ferial. Draw nigh unto my soul, * and save it. [Maundy Thursday. I am become a stranger * unto my brethren, even an alien unto my mother’s children.]


O most merciful Lord, hear us in the truth of Thy salvation, that, delivered from the filth of sin, we may be written in the Book of Life by Thy heavenly finger.* Through. (1.)

Bestow Thyself, O Lord, as the life of our soul, upon us who seek Thee; hearken to Thy poor, who have nothing because of their own righteousness, but are filled with Thy gift, and are nourished with Thy substance, that they may be defended by Thy grace. Despise not Thy prisoners, whose longings sigh for Thee, whose souls shall be present with Thee, and which ever follow after the desires of Thy Saints. Through. (11.)

O Lord God of Hosts,* let not those who look for Thee to sit in judgment on the doings of men be ashamed for our cause, that the power of Thy Cross may make us workmen of salvation, acceptable unto Thee, and not suffer the court of the heavenly army to sorrow because of our doings. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

O Lord God,* with Whom our offences are not hidden, Whose eyes behold not only outward things, but with invisible gaze pierce the secrets of the heart; grant us the medicine of penitence as a raiment of sackcloth; grant us open confession for the gain of pardon; grant that our eyes may pour forth floods of tears for our sins; grant that our voice may with sighings intreat a hearing for our prayers. And Thou, O Lord, hearken to our petition, for Thy loving-kindness is comfortable; let not the deep of hell swallow us up, nor our miry deeds overwhelm us; let the multitude of Thy mercies look upon us. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

Christ our God,* Sole-Begotten Son of the Unbegotten Father, draw nigh unto my soul, and save it, because of Thine enemies, who war against Thy Church; for Thou art our Redemption: and let us, who have waited for Thee in Thy gift, obtain Thee in everlasting glory. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

Jesu, our God, Who, making a whip of small cords,* dravest out those who buy and sell in Thy temple; grant to us in Thy Church not to be taken with the gain of temporal things, nor to dwell within it in filthy conversation; but that the zeal of Thy House may so eat us up, that Thou wouldst make of us examples for the brethren, pleasing unto Thee. Through Thy mercy.

O Christ, Son of God, Whom zeal for God’s House,* even Thy Father’s Church, eateth up; whilst Thou dost boldly drive from it with a cord those who do unrighteously, loose us from the cord of all our sins, and grant that we may dwell worthily in the midst of Thy House, that we ourselves, made a spiritual house for Thee, may receive from Thee the crown of heavenly laurel. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

Remember, O Jesu, the wormwood and the gall,* which bitter cup Thou wast given to drink for sinners; and therefore let Thy bitterness, we pray Thee, be our everlasting sweetness, so that wherein Thou wast willing to be made bitter for us, therein we may both here and evermore rejoice in blessedness. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

Christ our King,* Who didst bear reproach for sinners, whilst all the crowd, of the unbelievers in the gate, drunken with the wine of malice, spake against Thee; do Thou with Thine unfailing pity both cleanse us from the contagion of our sins, and glorify us by working in us with the might of holy doing, that at the end of our life we may not be ashamed to speak with our enemies in the gate; but, met by Thy holy Angels, may be lifted up in everlasting gladness. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

O Christ, Son of God, Who,* in the last issue of Thy Passion, wast given gall and vinegar to drink by the Jews; grant that, by that bitterness which Thou wast given, Thou mayest inebriate us with the draught of Thy bitternesses, and that the bitterness of Thy death may increase the flame of love within us, and the power of Thy Resurrection may set before us the perfect glory of Thy promised Face. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

Wherefore,* O Lord, should the creature Thou hast made resist Thee, for which Thou didst bear the reproaches of the mockers, and didst sit alone to be filled with threatenings? We pray, therefore, that Thou wouldst not permit that they, for whom Thou didst bear such wounds of sufferings, should be cast down by the passion of the flesh, or be drowned in the deep of hell. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

O God,* Who didst not suffer the body of Thy most blessed Martyr Clement to be held in the deep mire by any waves of the sea, so that no depth of waters could drown it; deliver us from all our temptations by the intercession of Thy Martyr, who, in Thy Name, overcame the bands of the enemies rising up against him, and, saving us from the deep of wickedness, lift us up in the calm light of dwelling in Thee, that by Thy help we may be free from sin and abound in virtues. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

O God, Who didst crown Vincent,* conquering marvellously in manifold sufferings, delivering him from all destructive torments, so that his steps, which stuck not fast in the mire of sin, marvellously trampled under foot all his cruel punishment, that he who, treading in soul upon the world, was now next heir of heaven, should not be swallowed up in the deep waters; Grant to us, by the prayer of so great a Martyr, not to be reached by the mire of sin, not to be drowned in the deep whirlpool of despair, but that we may be set before Thee in the day of judgment, adorned with spotless liberty of conscience. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

Pour forth Thy wrath,* O Lord, upon mine enemies, that their habitation may remain void, but let them at length understand the place of their fury and unrighteousness, that there may be access unto Thee by conversion in Thy Church for them who have lost the help of the earthly city Jerusalem. Through Thy mercy. (11.)

We pray Thee,* O Lord, that Thou wouldst build us, turned from heathendom, in the cities of Judah, and loosing us from the yoke of the devil, love us as Thine own children, that as Thou didst redeem us by the bitter gall, the sharp vinegar, the painful cross, the wounding nails, and the shameful death, Thou wouldst so vouchsafe and keep us in this world by the glory of Thy Resurrection, that Thou mayest make us partakers with the Saints in Thy kingdom. Who livest.

O God, (D. C.) to Whom every thought is open, and from Whom our sins are not hid, look upon us in the multitude of Thy mercy, and wash away from us the stains which offend Thee, draw nigh unto our soul, and save it from reproof and eternal shame. Through. (1.)

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 6:30-35

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 3, 2014

Joh 6:30 They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew that we may see and may believe thee? What dost thou work?

In consequence of His requiring faith in Himself as the Son of God, they, therefore, said to Him, what sign doest Thou show to convince us of this? Signs were hitherto wrought, such as the multiplication of bread, which has just taken place, but no sign of a nature to convince us of this.

“What dost Thou work?” as if to say, the works hitherto performed, the signs hitherto given are insufficient, to supply due motives of credibility for begetting in us such faith as you require.

Joh 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

This miracle just wrought, is not to be compared with the sign given us by Moses, who fed our fathers with manna for forty years in the desert, “as it is written, He gave them bread,” etc. As if they said, Moses, to whom they evidently allude, as appears from our Lord’s answer, gave an incomparably greater sign, by feeding our fathers in the desert, not once, but for forty years, not with earthly bread, but “with bread from heaven,” and still, he did not ask our fathers or us to believe in him. If the men referred to here be the same spoken of (v. 14), they must have changed their minds. Likely, they are different parties altogether.

Joh 6:32 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

In reply to their assertion, that Moses gave them bread from heaven, our Lord, prefixing His declaration with “Amen, amen,” declares in the most emphatic way, that “Moses did not give them bread from heaven,” in the strict sense of the word. It was called “bread from heaven,” because, generated in the air, it came down from the clouds. Hence, said in a general, but inaccurate, way, to be “from heaven,” just as we term the birds of the air that fly aloft towards heaven and descend on the earth, volucres cœli, and it is said of the Lord “intonuit de cælo Dominus” (Psa. 17:14). “But My Father,” with whom He is identified, for He Himself gives this gift, which as Son of Man, He promised (v. 27). His Father He contrasts with Moses, “gives you the true bread from heaven,” where He dwells, as in His own habitation, “true bread,” really come down from heaven, of which the bread given by Moses, rained down from the clouds, was a mere type and figure. This bread is the reality, no other than Himself, who came down from heaven, to nourish us, with His own adorable Body and Blood.

Joh 6:33 For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven and giveth life to the world.

“For the bread of God,” really divine and heavenly in its origin, “is that which cometh down from heaven,” cometh of itself, by its own power. (The manna was sent or rained down), and is really divine in its effects. For, “it gives life (eternal) to the world,” including the entire human race, rescued at a great price from hell and the power of the devil, unlike the manna, which was confined to the Jewish people, to one particular nation.

Joh 6:34 They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread.

No longer concerned about signs, or proofs of His Divinity, they are enticed by a desire to receive from Him “this bread” not once, but “always,” perpetually, which He extolled so much, beyond the manna of Moses. Their faith—if they had any, which is implied in the word, “Lord,” and in their conceiving that He would give the bread which the Father gives—was still very imperfect. For, like the Samaritan woman, who made a similar request (4:15), they do not regard it as spiritual bread, but only corporal, more excellent than the manna, which they would wish to have always at hand, to remove bodily hunger.

Joh 6:35 And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.

“I am the bread of life,” etc. In reply to their anxious desire to receive this life-giving bread, our Lord says, that He Himself, inasmuch as He means to give His own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, which He was surely to institute, is that life-giving bread, which came down from heaven, and which the Father gives (vv. 32, 33).

“He that cometh to Me.” Clearly, He means by faith, as in next clause, “he that believeth,” etc.—“shall not hunger,” etc. From v. 27, it seems quite clear that our Lord in speaking of Himself, is speaking, though not quite so explicitly, as He does hereafter, of His real sacramental presence, of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. In v. 29 He speaks of faith as a means, for procuring this food. He says the same, in this verse. He speaks of faith, as the chief means of deriving profit from partaking of this heavenly life-giving bread. Our Lord does not explicitly up to this, state, how He is to communicate Himself to us as food. He merely refers to His own Sacred Person, as the bread of life. But, He states this more explicitly hereafter. In verses 52–54 He says: it is received by eating His flesh and drinking His blood.


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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 6:22-29

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 3, 2014

Joh 6:22 The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other ship there but one: and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples, but that his disciples were gone away alone.

“The next day,” viz., the day after our Lord miraculously multiplied the bread, with which He fed 5,000. “The multitude that stood on the other side of the sea,” the side opposite Capharnaum, where our Redeemer and His disciples had been, after crossing the lake, on which He calmed the storm. “Saw that there was no other ship there but one, and that Jesus had not entered into the ship” (the one ship referred to) “with His disciples, but that His disciples were gone away alone.” The Greek for “saw” (ἰδὼν) is, “having seen.” Hence, the sentence is imperfect or suspensive, and the following or some such words must be added to perfect the sense, “sought Jesus,” unless we connect it with v. 24, where it would be repeated thus: “when therefore (I say) they saw,” etc.

Joh 6:23 But other ships came in from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks.

“Other ships came” the following day—“from Tiberias”—the rumour of the miracle having spread, people came in crowds to hear and see our Lord—“nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread,” etc.

Joh 6:24 When therefore the multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus.

Seeing, then, that our Lord, whom they sought, was not there, as they fancied He would have been, since they saw His disciples cross the lake towards Capharnaum without Him, the previous evening, in the only boat that was there, they had no idea of His walking on the waters, and meeting on the way the boat, which carried the disciples—disappointed in their search for Him on their side of the lake, where they expected to find Him, “they took shipping,” entering the boats that had come from Tiberias. In these they crossed the lake, and “came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus,” expecting to find Him at His usual place of abode.

Joh 6:25 And when they had found him on that other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

Having succeeded in their search, and finding Him at last, surprised at how He could have crossed the lake, and come there, they ask Him, “Rabbi,” etc.

“Rabbi, when camest Thou hither?” The question was rather rude and frivolous. The term, however, “Rabbi” shows it was blended with some feeling of respect. Our Lord does not reply, as He did not choose, out of feelings of modesty, to say how He came, viz., by walking on the waters. Indeed, the question how was implied in asking “when.” Declining to answer their frivolous questions, our Lord speaks to them in terms of reprehension, as He well knew their minds. He also wished to repress their excessive demonstration of feeling displayed the preceding day, in wishing to make Him king. He also shows, He cared not much for their praise, and was not affected by their bland address, when calling Him “Rabbi.” He answers, however, in a way that interested them most, by instructing them to seek for the food of the soul, rather than that of the body, which they were expecting to be perpetuated among them; and on account of which they thus sought and crowded round Him.

Joh 6:26 Jesus answered them and said: Amen, amen, I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled.

“Amen, amen,” shows the solemn importance of what He was about uttering. “Not because you have seen miracles,” which should have the effect of producing feelings of faith, penance, and the other evangelical virtues, that would conduct you to life everlasting, about which you seem so indifferent; you seek Me, not to procure the food of the soul, but of the body. You seek Me for your own sakes, not for Mine—St. Augustine—“but because you did eat of the loaves,” etc. You were actuated by carnal motives, by a desire to have the multiplication of bread continued amongst you, whereby to relieve your corporal necessities.

Our Lord, while mildly rebuking them and showing them He had the Divine faculty of scanning their inward motives, and of knowing the thoughts of their hearts, takes occasion, from allusion to corporal bread, to speak of that spiritual food of their souls, conferring everlasting life, which the Son of Man had in store for them.

Joh 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed.
“Labour not for the food which perisheth,” etc. Our Lord takes occasion, from the discourse regarding corporal bread, and the desire which the people had for it, to speak of a more exalted description of food—His own adorable Body—just as He raised the mind of the Samaritan woman, to desire and ask for the spiritual waters of faith and grace, by speaking of the material water, of which He asked her to give Him to drink.

When our Lord tells us to labour not for perishable food, He, by no means, prohibits our working for corporal nourishment since, all are bound by the Law of God, to toil and labour for their bodily sustenance (2 Thess. 3:10). He uses the word, in an exclusive sense, “labour not for,” etc., alone, and He wishes to convey, that we should labour chiefly for the food of which He means to speak. “the meat which perisheth,” viz., corporal food, that perishes with the body which it is meant to support.

“But for that which endureth”—in itself imperishable—“unto life everlasting,” which, unlike corporal food, that only upholds the life of the body, supports, “unto everlasting life,” which it confers and to which it leads us.

“Which the Son of Man will give you.” He speaks of it, as a future gift, not as yet bestowed on the world; it is also peculiarly the gift of our Lord, as Son of Man. This would seem to indicate what that gift is.

“For Him hath God the Father sealed.” First, when in eternally begetting Him, He communicated to His Eternal Son, His own Divine nature, and impressed upon Him the substantial, living, eternal image of His substance. “The figure of His substance” (Heb. 1:3), thus communicating His omnipotence and the power of giving the promised gift or heavenly food, showing Him to be the Eternal Son of God as well as the Son of Man. Secondly, in His Incarnation, when the Son of God united human nature, under His own Divine person. Thus, the Son of Man, at the same time, became the Son of God. Thirdly, He testified by words, “Thou art my beloved Son,” etc., and by miracles, that our Lord was the Son of God.

It is disputed to what “meat” or food there is reference made here. There is almost a universal consensus among Catholic Commentators, that towards the close of this chapter, commencing with v. 48, our Lord refers to the Blessed Eucharist, which He promises here to give, and did graciously give and institute, a year after this, at the Last Supper. Only a few Catholic Commentators deny this. There is, however, a great diversity of opinion, whether the Blessed Sacrament is referred to, in this verse. Although it is quite certain and undeniable, that, in the latter part of the chapter, our Lord promises to give His body and blood in the adorable Eucharist, and did so at the Last Supper; still, we are not bound to believe, as a matter of faith, that He refers to the Blessed Eucharist in this chapter, at all. But it is a point of faith, which no one is free to question or reject, that there is reference to the Blessed Eucharist and the real Presence in the words of Institution, “This is My Body,” etc. (Council of Trent, SS. xiii., de Euch. c. i.)

A great number of distinguished interpreters say, that while our Lord is preparing the people, in the preceding part of the chapter, and in this portion of it, as far as v. 48, for the sublime doctrine which He means to deliver there regarding His real Presence, He does not refer to it here. Others maintain, that the “meat” or food referred to in this v. 27, is His body and blood in the adorable Eucharist. This latter seems by far the most probable opinion. For 1. Our Lord here clearly distinguishes between the “meat,” or food, and the works which were to be performed, as the means for securing this food. Now, the chief of these works is faith in Him (v. 29). Hence, the food being the end or object, cannot be confounded with the works, which are the means for obtaining it; and hence, the opinion of a large section of distinguished Commentators and Theologians, who say that the food refers to faith, doctrine, etc., is hardly tenable. 2. Our Lord says, He “will give” it, at a future time; but He had already bestowed faith, doctrine, etc. 3. He distinguishes between the bread which He Himself will give them in the future, and that which the Father gives (v. 32), at present. The Father gives us His Incarnate Son; He, as Son of Man, will give His body and blood. To Him it peculiarly belongs to bestow this gift, If our Lord turns aside from continuing this subject, regarding His body and blood, to treat, in a subsequent part of the chapter, of faith, as a necessary disposition for securing and worthily receiving this heavenly bread, it was, owing to their untimely questions and interruptions, to resume the subject afterwards.

Joh 6:28 They said therefore unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?

“The works of God.” Works pleasing to God, and required by Him for obtaining this heavenly food. This question was suggested by the preceding words of our Lord, v. 27, “Operamini cibum,” “labour, work for the meat” or food. They then ask what works, does God, who “sealed His Son,” the bestower of this gift, require of us, in order to secure this food?

Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent.
Our Lord marks out one special work, which they must do by the aid of God, who by His all powerful grace, Himself produces this work in them, they at the same time co-operating with His grace and concurring in the work, viz., “to believe in Him whom He hath sent.” He specially selects faith, as, in the first place, indispensable, because, on it must be founded all the works necessary for securing this food. Though speaking to them of Himself, as if He said, “that you believe in Me;” still our Lord, out of modesty, employs the third person, “Him … sent,” instead of Me, referring all to His Father.

From His saying, that faith is the chief work, or means, necessary for securing this food, it would seem to follow, that the food itself is not faith, that faith is distinguished from the food, as means from the end, this food being no other than His own adorable body and blood, which is given as the reward of faith; and therefore, distinct from it.

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Father Rickaby’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2013

1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,

I have received of the Lord. Evidently St. Paul means that a special instruction had been vouchsafed to him, beyond that which other Christians of his time had received concerning the Last Supper from the Apostles there present. Elsewhere he says: For neither did I receive it (the gospel) of man, nor did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12). Our Saviour Himself then, appearing after His Ascension to St. Paul, had deigned to instruct him in this and other mysteries. St. Paul was a seer of visions (1 Cor 15:8; 2 Cor 12:2-4; Acts 9:12; Acts 22:7; Acts 23:11; Acts 26:15).

This is the oldest record of the Last Supper. St. Luke 22:19-20, closely follows St. Paul, whose companion he was. St. Matthew 26:26-28, writes as an eye-witness; and St. Mark 14:22-24, records the story as he learnt it of another eye-witness, St. Peter.

1Co 11:24  And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me.

Giving thanks, ευχαριστησας, means the same thing as ευλογησας, which is translated blessing  (e.g., Mark 8:7). The two words are used as synonymous in 1 Cor 14:16, where ευλογης and ευχαριστια are translated bless and blessing. Again they are interchanged in Mark 14:22-23. And St. John 6:11, has ευχαριστησας where the other three evangelists (Matt 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16) have ευλογησεν, of our Lord blessing the loaves and fishes.

Take ye and eat : this is my body which shall be delivered for you. To represent these words, all that we find in the three oldest manuscripts is, This is my body that is for you. The other Greek manuscripts read, This my body that is broken (i.e. given in food) for you. For the Hebrew phrase of breaking bread cf. Isaiah 58:1; Lam 4:4; Mark 8:19; Acts 2:46; Acts 20:11. Our present reading, given, or delivered, διδομενον, is found in Luke 22:19; while take ye and eat is in Matt 26:26. The variation then is unimportant.

1Co 11:25  In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

After he had supped (also in Luke 22:20). We may argue from these words, with St. Mark’s whilst they were eating (Mark 14:22), and St. Matthew’s while
they were at supper (Matt 26:26), that the institution of the Holy Eucharist took place when supper was in the main over, but they had not yet risen from table. The chalice used in the institution may have been the fourth cup of wine, that legally terminated the Jewish paschal supper.

The new testament in my blood, i.e. my blood of the new testament (Matt 26:28). For when every commandment of the law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, . . . and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you (Heb 9:19; Exodus 24:8). With this sprinkling of the blood of oxen and goats, it was impossible that sins should be taken away (Heb 10:4). Nor again could the law take away sin (Rom 4; Rom 7; Gal 3). Sins are taken away, not by the real, living blood of goats and oxen, but by what that blood was a figure of, the real, living Blood of Christ, which He gave to His disciples to drink (Matt 26:27-28). In this was the new testament, in which God said: I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more (Heb 8:8; Heb 8:12; Jer 31:31-34).

This do for the commemoration of me. “If any one says that by the words, This do for the commemoration of me, Christ did not institute His Apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer His Body and Blood, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, sess. 22, can. 2). This is one of the comparatively few texts, the sense of which has been dogmatically declared by the Church.

1Co 11:26  For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

You shall eat, you shall show forth: better, you eat, you show forth (καταγγελλετε, you declare).

The eating and drinking here spoken of, being the completion of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, is put for that celebration itself. Every time the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, every time Mass is said, the death of the Lord is shown forth by the separate consecration of the bread into His Body, and the wine into His Blood, which separate consecration is symbolical of the actual separation of that same Body and Blood, which was the actual death of that same Lord on Calvary.

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,
1Co 11:24  And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me.

That which also I delivered unto you. Not by writing, as I said before, but by word of mouth. This is one authority for the traditions which, orthodox divines teach, should be added to the written word of God.

That the Lord Jesus, the same night &c. Five actions of Christ are here described: (1.) He took bread; (2.) He gave thanks to the Father; (3.) He blessed the bread, as S. Matthew also says (Matt 26:26); (4.) He brake it; (5.) He gave it to His disciples, and in giving it, He said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” These are the words of one who gives as well as of one who consecrates.

Hence there is no foundation for the argument of Calvin, who says that all these words “took,” “blessed,” “broke,” “gave,” refer to bread only, and that therefore it was bread that the Apostles took and ate, not the body of Christ. My answer is that these words refer to the bread, not as it remained bread, but as it was changed into the body of Christ while being given, by the force of the words of consecration used by Christ. In the same way Christ might have said at Cana of Galilee, “Take, drink; this is wine,” if He had wished by these words to change the water into wine. So we are in the habit of saying, Herod imprisoned, slew, buried, or permitted to be buried, S. John, when what he buried was not what he imprisoned: he imprisoned a man; he buried a corpse. Like this, and consequently just as common, is this way of speaking about the Eucharist, which is used by the Evangelists and S. Paul.

Notice too from Christ’s words, “Take, for this is,” &c. that He seems to have taken one loaf, and in the act of consecration to have broken it into twelve parts, and to have given one part to each Apostle, and that each one seems to have received it into his hand. Hence the custom existed for a long time in the Church of giving the Eucharist into the hands of the faithful, as appears from Tertullian (de Spectac.), from Cyril of Jerusalem (Myst. Catech. 5), from S. Augustine (Serm. 44). Afterwards, however, it was put into the mouth to prevent accidents, and out of reverence.

This is My body. Heretics say that this is a figure of speech, a metonymy, or something of the sort, and that the meaning is, “This is a figure of My body,” “This represents My body.”

But that this is no mere figure of speech is evident (1.) from the emphasis on the word “This,” and from the words, “My body and My blood,” as well as from the whole sentence, which is so clearly expressed that it could not have been put more plainly. Add to this that the words were used on the last day of Christ’s life, at the time that He left His testament, instituted a new and everlasting covenant with His unlettered and beloved disciples, and also instituted this most sublime sacrament, at once a dogma and a Christian mystery, all which things men generally express as they ought to do in the clearest terms possible. Who can believe that the great wisdom and goodness of Christ would have given in His last words an inevitable occasion for false doctrine and never-ending idolatry?—which He surely did if these so clear words, “This is My body,” were meant to be understood merely as a figure of speech. If this is indeed true, then the whole Church, for the last 1500 years, has been living in the most grievous error and idolatry, and that too through Christ’s own words, which Luther thought so clear that he wrote to the men of Argentum: “If Carlstad could have persuaded me that in the sacrament there is nothing but bread and wine, he would have conferred a great kindness upon me; for so I should have been most utterly opposed to the Papacy. But I am held fast: there is no way of escape open; for the text of the Gospel is too apparent and too convincing, its force cannot well be evaded, much less can it be destroyed by words or glosses forged in some brain-sick head.” And Melancthon (ad. Fred. Myconium) says: “If you understand ‘My body’ to mean ‘a figure of My body,’ what difficulty is there that you will not be able to explain away? It will then be easy to transform the whole form of religion.” With Servetus, you will be able to say that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but three names of the one God, not Three Persons; that Christ took flesh, but only in appearance; that He died and suffered, but only as a phantasm, as the Manichæans teach. In short, in this way who will not be able to say that the Gospel is the Gospel, Christ is Christ, God is God figuratively, and so come, as many do, to believe nothing at all? Observe how the Sacramentaries open here a door to atheism. Cardinal Hosius most truly prophesied that heretics would in course of time become atheists, and that the end of all heresy is atheism. When they fall away from Catholic truth into heresy, and find in that nothing fixed, or firm, or durable, what remains for them but to abjure their heretical opinions and believe nothing, and become that of which the Psalmist sings (Ps 14:1), “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God?” Would that we did not daily see the truth of this.

Again, not only Paul, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke record the institution in the same way and in the same words: “This is My body; this is My blood.” Not one, then, can say it is a figure of speech, or maintain that one explains the other where he is obscure. Erasmus was convinced by this argument, and replied to the attempts of Conrad Pellican to convert him to Zwinglianism: “I have always said that I could never bring my mind to believe that the true body of Christ was not in the Eucharist, especially when the writings of the Evangelists and S. Paul expressly speak of the body as given and of the blood as shed. . . . If you have persuaded yourself that in Holy Communion you receive nothing but bread and wine, I would rather under go all kinds of suffering, and be torn limb from limb, than profess what you do; nor will I suffer you to make me a supporter or associate of your doctrine; and so may it be my portion never to be separated from Christ. Amen.”

2. If in the Eucharist bread remains bread, then the figure of bread has succeeded to the figure of the lamb. Who is there that does not see that it is wrong to say that that can be? The lamb slain under the Old Law was a plainer representation of Christ suffering than the bread in the New Law. Again, the lamb would have been a poor type of the Eucharist if it is, as Calvin says, bread and nothing else. Any one would rather have the lamb, both for itself and as a figure of Christ, than the bread.

3. This is still more evident in the consecration of the cup. “This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you”—words which are clearest of all in S. Luke 22:20—”This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.” The relative in this verse undoubtedly refers to “cup.”  S. Luke, therefore, says that the cup, or the chalice of the blood of Christ, was poured out for us; therefore, in this chalice there was truly the blood of Christ, so that, when this chalice was drunk from, there was poured out, not wine, which was before consecration, and, as heretics say, remains after consecration also, but the blood of Christ, which was contained in it after consecration; for this is the meaning of “the cup of My blood which is poured out for you.” Otherwise it was a cup of wine, not of blood, that was poured out for us, and Christ would have redeemed us with a cup of wine, which is most absurd. This will still more plainly appear from the next verse. Nor can it be said, as Beza does, that the text is corrupt, for all copies and commentators read it as we do, and always have so read it.

4. All the Evangelists and S. Paul explain what “this body” means by adding, “which is given for you,” or, as S. Paul says, “which is broken for you.” But it was not the figure of the body, but the true body of Christ that was given and “broken for us;” therefore it was the true body of Christ that Christ gave to His Apostles. Moreover, S. Paul says: “Whosoever shall eat this bread . . . unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Therefore there is here really “the body and blood of the Lord,” and he who handles and takes it unworthily does it an injury.

In short, the Greek and Latin Fathers of all ages explain these words of consecration literally. This was how the Church understood them for 1050 years, till the time of Berengarius. He was the first who publicly taught the contrary, being a man untaught indeed, but ambitious of obtaining the name of a new teacher. For J. Scotus and Bertram, who, at an earlier date, held the same views as Berengarius, were but little known, and were at once refuted and silenced by Paschasius Radbert, and others. This opinion of Berengarius was at once opposed as a dogma that had seen light for the first time by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, Guidmund, Alger, and the whole Catholic Church. The error of Berengarius was condemned at a council held at Versailles, under Leo IX., and at another held at Tours, under Victor II., at which Berengarius was present, and being convicted, he at once abjured his heresy, but having relapsed, he was once more convicted in a Roman council of 113 bishops, under Nicholas II., and his books were burnt. Having again lapsed, he condemned his error in a third Roman council, under Gregory VII., and uttered the following confession of faith given by Thomas Wald. (de Sacram. vol. ii. c. 43): “I, Berengarius, believe with my heart and profess with my mouth that the bread and wine are charged into the true and real and lifegiving flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that, after consecration, there is His true body which he took of the Virgin, and that there is the very blood which flowed from His side, not merely by way of sign, but in its natural properties, and in reality of substance.” Would that those who follow Berengarius now in his error would follow him also in his repentance. The heresy of Berengarius has been renewed in the present century by Andrew Carlstadt, who was at once opposed by Luther. Carlstadt was followed by Zwingli, he by Calvin; and yet there is no single article of faith which has such firm support of all the Fathers and of the whole Church as this of the reality of the body of Christ in the Eucharist.

The same truth has been defined in eight General Councils—the First and Second Nicene, the Roman under Nicholas II., the Lateran, those of Vienne, of Constance, Florence, and Trent, as well as by many provincial synods. If any one doubts this, let him read John Garetius, who gives in order the testimonies of the Fathers for sixteen centuries after Christ, and of the Councils of each century, who alike unanimously and clearly confess this truth. He also brings forward the profession of the same faith given by the Churches of Syria, Ethiopia, Armenia, and India. Let him read also Bellarmine (de Eucharistiâ), who gives and comments on the words of each. Whoever reads them will see that this has been the faith of the Church in all ages, so that Erasmus might well say to Louis Beer: “You will never persuade me that Christ, who is Truth and Love, would so long suffer His beloved bride to remain in so abominable an error as to worship a piece of bread instead of Himself.”

And here appears the art and ingenuity of Zwingli, Calvin, and their friends. They bring forward a new view of the Eucharist, and teach that in it there is not really the body of Christ, but merely a figure of the body. How do they prove it? From the Scriptures. Well, then, let the words be studied, let all the Evangelists be read, let Paul too be read, and let it be said whether they support them or us and the received teaching of the Church. What else do all clearly proclaim but a body, and that a body given for us? What else but blood shed for us? Where here is room for shadow, or figure, or type? But they say these words must be explained figuratively. Admit, then, that the words of Scripture, do not favour you, for you say that the mind of Scripture is to be ascertained elsewhere than from the words of Scripture. How, then, do you prove that these words ought to be explained figuratively? If they are ambiguous, whence is the exposition to be sought? Who is to end the strife save the Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth handed down to her from the Fathers? What save the primitive authority of the Fathers, the tradition of our forefathers, and the consent of the first ages of the Church? We quote and allege the Fathers of every century, all our forefathers, the national and General Councils of each century: all take the words of Christ as they stand, and condemn the figurative interpretation. What remains, then, but to follow the plain words of Scripture, and the clear exposition of the Fathers and of the whole Church in all ages? And yet you obstinately adhere to your figurative explanation. What Scripture supports you—whose authority—what reason? You can only say that your heresy has so determined, and that you follow the trumpet of Luther. So I think, so I choose, so I will, so I determine: let my will do instead of reason. This is the only ground you have for all your beliefs.

Melancthon wrote far more truly and more soundly about this (de Ver. Corp. et Sang. Dom.): “If, relying on human reason, you deny that Christ is in the Eucharist, what will your conscience say in time of trial? What reason will it bring forward for departing from the doctrine received in the Church? Then will the words, ‘This is My body,’ be thunderbolts. What will your panic-stricken mind oppose to them? By what words of Scripture, by what promises of God will she fortify herself, and persuade herself that these words must necessarily be taken metaphorically, when the Word of God ought to be listened to before the judgment of reason?” At all events in the hour of death, and in that terrible day when we stand before the tribunal of Christ, to be examined of our life and faith, if Christ ask me, “Why didst thou believe that My body was in the Eucharist?” I can confidently answer, “I believed it, 0 Lord, because Thou saidst it, because Thou didst teach it me. Thou didst not explain Thy words as a figure, nor did I dare to explain them so. The Church took them in their simple meaning, and I took them as the Church did. I was persuaded that this faith and this reverence were due from me to Thy words and to Thy Church.”

If Christ ask the Calvinist, “Why didst thou wrest My words from their proper meaning into a figure of speech?” what answer will he make? “I thought that I must do so, for my reason could not understand how they could or ought to be true.”—”But,” He will reply, “which ought you to have listened to—your reason, which has human infirmity, or My word, which is all-powerful, than which nothing can be truer? Reason dictated to the Gentiles that to believe in Me as God, when born, suffering, and crucified, was folly. Yet you thought and believed that you should believe all this about Me, and you were persuaded of it from the words of Scripture only, which say this simply. Why, then, in this one article of the Eucharist did you presume to interpret what I expressly said, by the rule of your reason, according to the measure of your brain? Why did you not bow to the authoritative exposition of the Church of all ages? Why desire to be wiser than it?” What answer will he give—how excuse himself—whither turn? Let each one think earnestly of this ere it be too late, let him submit himself to God’s word and the Church with humble and loyal obedience, lest he be confounded in that day of the Lord, and receive his lot with the unbelievers in the lake of fire that burneth with fire and brimstone, lest he hear the words of thunder, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” Nor let him marvel at such a wonderful mystery in the Eucharist, when Christ, throughout His whole life, was wonderful for His mysteries (Isa 9:6) ; and when Isaiah also says of Him (Isa 45:15): “Verily thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel the saviour. .” If an angel should conceal himself under the form of the Host, he would be really there though hidden; you would see, touch, and taste bread only, not an angel; yet you would believe that an angel was hidden beneath it if an angel or a prophet had said so. Why, then, in like manner, do you not believe that Christ is concealed under the Host, when Christ Himself, who cannot lie, says so? For God, who is Almighty, can supernaturally give this mode of existence—spiritual, invisible, indivisible—to the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Let no one then faithlessly say: “How can Christ be in so small a Host?” Let him think that Christ is there, as an angel might be; let him not inquire as to the mode, but embrace instead the wonderful love of Christ, whose delights are with the sons of men, who went about to pass from the world to the Father; as S. John says (John 13:1), “having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end;” and of whom says the verse of S. Thomas—

“By birth their Fellow-man was He,
Their meat when sitting at the board;
He died their Ransomer to be;
He ever reigns, their great Reward.”

that by His love He might compel our love in return, that as often as we see and take our part in these mysteries we might think of Him as addressing us in the words: “So Christ gives Himself here wholly to thee; give, nay give again thyself wholly to Him.”

You will perhaps object that the Eucharist is called “bread and fruit of’ the vine,” i.e., wine, in S. John 6:57, S. Matt 26:29. I answer that in the account of the institution of the Eucharist it is called bread by no one, if it is elsewhere, and also that “bread” there denotes any kind of food. (See note on 10:17). So wine might signify any kind of drink, as being the common drink among the Jews, as it is now in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

But the better answer is that Christ applied the name “fruit of the vine,” not to what was in the Eucharistic chalice, but to that in the cup of the Passover Supper. For, as He said of the lamb (S. Luke 22:16), “I will not eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God,” so of the cup of the lamb, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come.” For S. Luke plainly makes a distinction, not observed by S. Matthew and S. Mark, between the lamb and the cup of the Passover supper, and relates that Christ spoke of both before the Eucharist (Luke 22:17). Christ simply meant to say that He would not afterwards live with them, or take part in the common supper, as He had hitherto done, because He was going to His death, as Jerome, Theophylact and others say in their comments on the passage.

You may perhaps object, secondly, that the words, “This is My body” are a sacramental mode of speech, and are, therefore, typical and figurative.

But I deny that this follows; for this is a sacramental mode of speech, because, by these words, a true sacrament is worked, viz., because, under the species of bread and wine as the visible signs, there is present the very body of Christ. The words are not sacramental in the sense of being typical or figurative, for sacraments properly speaking signify what they contain and effect. For a sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality which it causes and effects, as, e.g., when we say, “I baptize thee,” i.e., “wash thee,” the meaning is not, “I give thee a sign or figure of washing,” but strictly, “By this sacrament I wash thy body, and by this I wash thy soul from the stains of thy sins.” So when we say, “I absolve thee,” “I confirm thee,” “I anoint thee,” there is signified, not a figurative but a real and proper absolution, confirmation, and anointing of the body and soul.

If Christ, therefore, when He said “body,” had meant “figure of My body,” He ought to have explained Himself, and said, “I am speaking, not only sacramentally, but figuratively,” otherwise He would have given to the Apostles and to the whole Church an evident occasion for the most grievous error. The conclusion then has no basis that Christ is in the Eucharist as in a sacrament, that is, figuratively or typically, as the commentary ascribed to S. Ambrose says, in which it is followed by some of the Fathers, and that therefore He is not really there, but only figuratively; the contrary should be inferred. Christ is not, therefore, there figuratively, but truly and properly; for a sacrament signifies what is really present, not what is falsely absent. As, then, the conclusion is valid that where there is smoke there is fire, because smoke is the sign of the presence of fire; and again this body breathes, therefore life is present in it, because breathing is a sign of life, so also it rightly follows that the body of Christ is in the Eucharist as in a Sacrament; therefore, He is really there, because the Sacrament and the sacramental species signify that they as the true sacraments of Christ’s body, truly contain it.

You will object perhaps, thirdly, that Christ said (S. John6:63): “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing;” therefore the flesh of Christ is not present, and is not eaten in the Eucharist.

3. I answer that it cannot be said without impiety that the flesh of Christ, suffering and crucified for us, profits us nothing. Indeed, the very opposite of this is taught by Christ Himself throughout S. John 6:35-65. He says in so many words that His flesh greatly profits us. His meaning therefore is, as S. Cyril points out, (1.) that the flesh of Christ has not its quickening power in the Eucharist from itself, but from the Spirit, that is from the Godhead of the Word, to which it is hypostatically united. (2.) That this manducation, as S. Chrysostom says, of Christ’s flesh in the Eucharist is not carnal: that we do not press it with our teeth, as we might bull’s flesh, but that we eat it after a spiritual manner, one suited to the nature of spirit, viz., mysteriously sacramentally, invisibly. For you here eat the flesh of Christ in exactly the same way as you would feed on and appropriate the substance of an angel, if he lay concealed in the sacrament. The opposite of this was what was understood by the unspiritual people of Capernaum, and it is against them only that Christ says these words. Hence He proceeds to say: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” In other words, “They are spiritual, and must be understood spiritually: you will not eat My flesh in the carnal sense of being bloody, cut into pieces and chewed, but only in a spiritual way, as though it were a spirit couched invisibly and indivisibly beneath the Blessed Sacrament.” In the same way, “My words are life,” that is full of life, giving life to him that heareth, believeth, and eateth My flesh.

4. You will perhaps again urge that it seems impossible that Christ, being so great, should be in so small a Host and at so many different altars, and that it seems incredible that Christ should be there, subject to the chance of being eaten by mice or vomited, &c.

I reply to the first, “With God all things are possible.” Hence we say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty.” God can do more than a miserable man, nay, more than all the hosts of angels and men can conceive, else He would not be God. Moreover, faith transcends human capacity: these mysteries are matters for faith, not for reason. “Faith,” says S. Augustine (in Joan. Tract. 27 and 40), “is believing what you see not.” And S. Gregory (in Evang. Hom. xxvi.) says: “Faith has no merit where human reason supplies proof.” S. Thomas, therefore, well sings of this sacrament—

“Faith alone, though sight forsaketh,
Shows true hearts the mystery.”

Moreover, it can be shown by a similar case that it is not impossible for the body of Christ to be in so small a Host; for the body of Christ was born of the Virgin, i.e., came forth from her closed womb; He therefore penetrated the Virgin’s womb in such a way that when He was born He was in the same place as His mother’s womb was. Similarly, Christ rose from the closed sepulchre, and entered to His disciples when the doors were shut: He was therefore in the same place as the stone before the tomb and the door of the upper room.

Now I argue thus: If two whole bodies can be at once in the same place, e.g., Christ and the stone, so also two parts of the same body, e.g., the head and feet of Christ, can be in the same place, as, e.g., in the same Host. If two can be, then can three or four or five, or as many as God shall see fit to put in the same place. Christ says the same in S. Matt 19:24., in the words, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” But God can absolutely draw a rich man to heaven, therefore He can make a camel go through the eye of a needle, and therefore the body of Christ through so small a Host.

Now, if two bodies can be in the same place, so, by parity of reasoning, the same body, viz., that of Christ, can be in difierent places and different Hosts; for both are of equal difficulty and of equal power.

We can show, thirdly, the possibility of this by another example; for God can make an angel, nay, an angel can make himself expand from filling a single point to fill a whole room; and on the other hand He can make a body that is spread through some extent of space contract to a single point. If He can do that, why not this, especially since He is Almighty? for both belong to the same order and present the same difficulty, nor does one involve more contradiction than the other.

Further, not only does God do this in the case of an angel, who is spirit and not body, but He does it also to bodies in the world of nature. For fire will rarefy and expand water to ten times its volume, nay, make it boil over and escape; and, again, cold can so condense this same water, when the heat of the fire is taken from it, as to contract it to its original volume. Why, then, cannot God, who infinitely surpasses the workings of nature, reduce the body of Christ, which is but of six feet, to the dimensions of a single Host, nay, of a single point? As God can increase anything indefinitely, so can He diminish it in the same way; for both the infinite power of God is requisite and sufficient.

Lastly, Christ compares Himself and His Gospel to a grain of mustard-seed (S. Matt 13:31), which, from being of small dimensions, attains great size by its inherent vigour, and spreads itself out into wide-spreading branches, and becomes a large tree. If God does this to a grain of mustard-seed by natural agencies, why can He not do the like in the Eucharist according to His promise?

2. As to the indignity offered to Christ, I reply that Christ suffers nothing: it is the species alone that are affected. For Christ is here after a mysterious and indivisible manner, as a spirit. As, then, an angel who should enter the Host, or as God, who is in reality in every body and every place, suffers nothing if the Host or the body containing Him is vomited, burnt, or broken, so neither does the body of Christ in the Eucharist suffer anything, because it is like to an angel. Erasmus (Praef. in lib. Algeri.) says: ”God, who, according to nature, is as truly in the sewers as the skies, cannot be hurt or defiled, nor can the glorified body of the Lord.” And again (ad Conrad Pellican) he says: “Up to the present, with all Christians I have adored in the Eucharist Christ, who suffered for me, nor do I yet see any reason why I should abandon my belief. N human reasons will ever have power to draw me away from the unanimous belief of the Christian world. Those few words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earthy’ have more weight with me than all the arguments of Aristotle and the rest of the philosophers, by which they strive to show that the heavens and the earth had no beginning. So, too, here we have the words of God, “This is My body,
which is given for you,”  “This is My blood, which is shedfor you.”

I have dealt with these objections at some length, because of the importance of their subject, and because of the modern Protestant controversies, which, I observe, are causing some of our neighbours, and especially the Dutch, to swerve from the ancient orthodox faith, because of the supposed difficulty or incredibility of this article of the Eucharist, when, as a fact, there is no other article in Holy Scripture, the Fathers, or councils so firmly fixed as this is.

From what has been said, it appears (1.) that in the Eucharist the species of bread does not remain, but is transubstantiated into the body of Christ, as the wine is into His blood, as the Lateran Council lays down, and as the Church has always held. Consequently it also appears (2.) that the accidents only of the bread and wine remain without a subject, and (3.) that the body of Christ is present after the manner of a spiritual substance, invisible, indivisible, the whole in the whole and the whole in each part of the host, as is thought universally by theologians. Let us now weigh the meaning of the words of consecration.

This. This pronoun is not so much a substantive denoting an indefinite individual (as some think it to stand for “this thing,” or “what is contained under these species,” whether bread or the body of Christ) as it is an adjective signifying the same thing indeterminately, as “My body” signifies distinctly and by name. Similarly, when we say, “This is a servant,” “This is a man,” the word “this” merely points out the servant or the man in an indeterminate way. You will perhaps reply that when Christ said “this” it was not yet the body of Christ, and therefore the word cannot stand for it. I answer that, as this is a form of consecration, the words are not enuntiative but efficacious, and that, therefore, the word “this ” refers to that which is not yet, but which comes through the use of the formula, and will be there when that has been said.

Perhaps you will urge again: This efficacious form of words signifies, This is transubstantiated into My body: therefore this refers to the bread; for it is the bread alone that is so transubstantiated, I deny the major, viz., that transubstantiation is here signified primarily and directly. Primarily there is only signified that the body of Christ is made to be present in such a way that when the species is signified, so too is the body; it then follows secondarily, that the bread is transubstantiated and annihilated. Still, if you wish to explain “this is” indirectly, as meaning “This is transubstantiated into My body,” then I grant that it refers to the bread. It is no wonder if this pronoun stands for two different things, because the one proposition, “This is My body,” is of manifold meaning, efficacious, enuntiative, nay, efficacious in a twofold way.

But to clearly understand all this, take notice that if Christ had taken the species only of bread without the substance, and had then consecrated it, nay, if He had taken not even the species but had created it, as He consecrated, out of nothing, by saying, “This is My body,” then primarily He would have done just what He did when He took the bread and consecrated it and said, “This is My body.” Put in the two supposed cases He would not have transubstantiated anything, for no substance of bread would have been there before, nor would the pronoun “this” have referred to bread or any other substance, but only to the body of Christ, which would be simply produced; therefore in our last case, and in the actual consecration, there is not primarily signified transubstantiation, nor does “this” refer to the bread but to the body of Christ.

Similarly, when God created the heaven. He could have said, “This is heaven,” i.e., this is created and brought into being, and is heaven; “This is earth,” i.e., this is created, is produced, and at the same time, by these very words, the earth is; “This is Eve,” i.e., she is produced, and at the very instant that she comes into being she is Eve. In like manner, when it is said, “This is My body; this is My blood,” the meaning is, This is consecrated, produced, and becomes My body and blood, so that at the close of the consecration it is in fact My body and blood.

This form of consecration then, “This is My body,” seems, from what has been said, to signify properly and primarily, not the startingpoint, “viz., the change and annihilation of the bread, but the goal, viz., the production of the body and blood of Christ; and this is pointed to in the pronoun “this.” In other words: that which under the species of bread and wine is produced and comes into being, and when it comes into being exists, is My body and blood. Still, in a secondary sense, the form of words denotes the destruction of the starting-point, the bread, and its transubstantiation. For, as under these species the substance of bread and wine formerly existed, and as they have to give place to the body and blood of Christ, which are produced by virtue of the words of consecration, so the pronoun “this” refers to nothing else but the body and blood of Christ. Hence, since by these words it is signified that the body of Christ is produced, it is necessarily also signified that the bread is done away with and transubstantiated into the body.

The words of consecration are (1.) simply practical, and denote, “This is made My body;” (2.) enuntiative, denoting. This at the end of the consecration is My Body; (3.) conversive and transsubstantiative, and denote that “this” substance of bread contained under this species is changed into the body of Christ, in such a way that, when the consecration is finished, bread no longer remains, but has been changed into the body of Christ.

Is. (1.) We must notice that Christ does not seem to have said is, for the Hebrew and Aramaic do not use the verb substantive but understand it, nay, they do not possess the present tense. Consequently in Greek and Latin the verb is not of the essence of the form of consecration; still in practice it ought not to be omitted, and cannot be omitted without grievous sin, for the form of consecration would be ambiguous without it. (2.) The verb “is” is better supplied than “is made,” (a) because there is no change here from not being to being, as “is made” would imply, for the flesh of Christ existed before; (b) because “is” expresses the instantaneousness of the change, and includes what is and what was; (c) because the pronoun “this” properly points to what is, not to what is being made, for what is not yet cannot, strictly speaking, be seen and pointed to, yet it is afterwards said to be pointed to when it is shown to be coming into existence so as to be seen; (d) because “is” signifies the abiding, unchanging truth of this sacrament; (e) because, lastly, it is better to say, “Take eat: this is My body,” than, “This is being made My body.”

(3.) Notice again that Christ consecrated by the words, “This is My body,” and not when He blessed the bread. So priests now consecrate by them in imitation of Christ, as the Councils of Florence and Trent and all the Fathers lay down, in opposition to the Greeks. Hence these words are used by the priest (a) historically, as relating what Christ did; (b) personally, as imitating in consecrating the exact actions of Christ. Hence in consecrating and transubstantiating the priest puts on the person of Christ.

My Body.—1. Notice that “body” here signifies, not the whole man, but the flesh as distinguished from the soul, which flesh is here present by the force of the words alone. The soul and divinity are present, however, by concomitance, both with the body and the blood. So too by concomitance the blood is with the body under the species of bread, and the body in turn is with the blood under the species of wine. Cf. the Council of Trent.

2. Notice that Christ here instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist for all to partake of, and at the same time a sacrifice for the priests to offer to God. So the Church teaches, following Apostolical tradition, and so the Council of Trent lays down (sess. xxii, c. 1). This is the one sacrifice of the New Law, the antitype of all that were under the Old Law. Therefore this one sacrifice is at once Eucharistic, a sin-offering, a burnt-offering, and a peace-offering.

Which is broken for you. 1. According to Ambrose and Theophylact, the body of Christ is now being broken under the species, or by means of the species of bread, which are being broken and consumed, and so it is, as S. Luke has it, given to God, that is, sacrificed. All this is implied in the word “broken.” Formerly, in the sacrifice called the “mincha” when the bread was offered to God, it had to be broken, blessed, and eaten, as S. Thomas points out (iii. qu. 85, art. 3, ad. 3). Hence the Catholic confession of Berengarius, in which he recanted his error about the Eucharist, runs, that the body of Christ is in truth handled and broken by the hands of the priests, and pressed by the teeth of the faithful, viz., through the sacramental species of bread, which is handled, broken, and pressed. For this species is no longer that of bread, but of Christ’s body, which alone is the substance here under such species or accidents. Hence it is that, when this species is seen, touched, and named, it is the substance of the body of Christ that is seen, touched, and named, and nothing else, just as before consecration, by the same species was seen, touched, and named the substance of bread.

2. “Is broken” denotes, shall be shortly broken and immolated on the Cross. So Anselm. This breaking and immolation were not so much future as present, for the day of the Passover and Christ’s suffering had begun when Christ said these words. It was therefore a kind of prolonged present. It was, says Cajetan, to be broken with scourgings in its skin, nails in its hands and feet, and a spear in its side.

3. Bellarmine (de Missa, lib. i. c. 12) says: “In the Eucharist the body of Christ is broken, i.e., is divided and destroyed, viz., when under the distinct and different species of bread and wine. It is offered to God, taken, and consumed, to represent the suffering and death of Christ.” Hence S. Chrysostom says: “The breaking of the body in the sacrament is a symbol of the Passion, and of the body broken on the Cross.” Tropologically this breaking denotes mortification. Cf. S. Dionysius (Eccl Hier. c. iii.).

1Co 11:25  In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. Notice (1.) that Christ, after He celebrated the typical supper of the Paschal lamb, and afterwards the common supper on  other meats, instituted the third, viz., the Eucharistic supper.

2. Notice that tlie heathen offer their sacrifices after a banquet, as giving thanks to God for their feast, and offered Him libations and sang His praises crowned with garlands. (Cf. Athen. lib. i. c. ix. and lib. xv. c. 20, also Virg. Æn. lib. viii., also Giraldus, de Diis Gentium.) The ancient ritual records of the Hebrews show that they did the same in the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb. When the supper was over, the head of the family took a piece of unleavened bread and broke it into as many parts as there were guests, and gave a piece to each, saying, “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt: whosoever hungers, let him come nigh and complete the Passover.” Then he would take a cup and bless it, saying, “Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who hast created the fruit of the vine,” &c. Then he would taste of it, and hand it on to the next, and he to his neighbour, and so on till it had made the round of the table.

Christ follows their customs in instituting the Eucharist, and He left it as His last farewell and testament, and to give us and His disciples a symbol and proof of His great love, and to replace the typical lamb by the verity of the Eucharist. And this is why Christ supped first and instituted the Eucharist last of all. Now, however, through reverence for so great a sacrament, the Eucharist, by Apostolic tradition, is always received fasting.

This chalice is the new testament in My blood. This is the authentic instrument, and as it were the paper on which the new testament has been written and sealed, i.e., the new covenant ratified, and the new promises of God confirmed, and My last will to give you an eternal inheritance, sealed, if only you will believe on Me and obey Me. It has been written, not in letters of ink, but in My blood, contained in this cup, just as a sheet of parchment contains the writing of the will.

You will perhaps object that SS. Matthew and Mark have: “This is the blood of the new testament.” Why, then, does S. Paul say, “This cup,” i.e., the blood contained in this cup, “is the testament?”

I answer that testament has a twofold meaning—(a) the last will of a testator, in which sense it is used by the two Evangelists, who speak of the blood in which the last will of Christ was confirmed; and (b) it signifies the writing or the instrument of tins last will. So S. Paul uses it here, and calls the blood itself the testament.

Notice (1.) that Christ is here alluding to the covenant of Moses between God and the people, ratified by the blood of victims, which in an allegory represented this covenant, ratified by the blood of Christ. Cf. Exodus 24. Notice (2.) that the ancients were wont to ratify their covenants with the blood of victims. Livy (lib. i.), speaking of the treaty drawn up between the Romans and Albans, says: “When the laws of the treaty had been agreed upon, the Fetial priest said, “‘The Roman people will not be the first to break them. If it shall at any time do so, by common consent and with hostile intent, then do thou, O Jupiter, on the same day strike the Roman people as I this day strike this boar. Strike them the harder as thy power is the greater.”  Then he killed the boar by a blow from a flint stone.” Cf. too Virg. (Æn. lib. viii.). This same custom was common also long before that amongst true worshippers of God. Hence (Gen 15:9-10, 17) the Lord ordered a bullock, a ram, and a she-goat to be sacrificed for a sign and confirmation of the covenant that He had made with Abraham, and He divided them in the midst. When this was done, a lamp representing God passed through between the pieces, typifying that so should he be divided who should break the covenant. Cf. Jeremiah 34:18. Hence Cyril (contra Julian, lib. x.). shows from Sophocles that this custom was observed in later times, when they went through the midst of a fire carrying a sword in their hands when they took an oath. Cf. also in this connection Exodus 24. The blood of the victims was here sprinkled, to signify that he who should break the covenant would in like manner pay with his own blood for his broken faith. But because it was between God and the people that the covenant was made, it was necessary for both God and the Israelites to divide the blood between them to be sprinkled with it; and since God is incorporeal, and so cannot be sprinkled with blood, the altar was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifices in His stead.

In the same way Christ the Lord ratified the new covenant with His own blood, being the blood of a federal victim; especially because by His blood He won redemption, grace, and an inheritance for us, and all the other good things which He promised us in His covenant. Cf. Hebrews 9:15 et seq. He expressed this in the institution of the Eucharist when He said: “This cup is the new testament in My blood,” or as S. Matthew more clearly expresses it, “This is My blood of the new testament.” From this we may collect a strong argument against the Sacramentaries for the verity of the body of Christ; for if the old covenant was ratified in blood, as we see it was from Exodus 24:8, where we read, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you,” so too is the new covenant ratified with actual blood, as we see from the words, “This is My blood of the new testament.” For here the old was a type cf the new and the real covenant, and it is certain that Christ here referred to it.

It may be said, Christ speaks of the blood of the new testament, not of the new covenant, as Moses does in Exodus 24, and therefore the two sprinklings are dissimilar. I answer that testament here has a twofold meaning: (a) specially for the last will of a testator, or his authentic instrument; and when his will is conditioned, his promise takes the form of an agreement or covenant. Even if his will be absolute, yet there is always involved a mutual obligation on the testator’s side to bequeath his goods, and on the side of the beneficiary to undertake the debts and burdens of the testator, and to carry out his wishes. But since a testament contains the last wishes of a man, and so makes, as it were, a closely binding agreement, the word has come to mean (b) any agreement, promise, or covenant, as S. Jerome says (in Malachi ii.), and Innocent (De Celeb. Miss. cap. cum Marth.), and S. Augustine (Locut. in. Genes. 94). This is proved to be the meaning in both Latin and Greek by Budæus.

Hence it is that Christ and S. Paul, following the Septuagint, mean by the “blood of the testament” the blood of the covenant, whether in its looser or stricter meaning; for testament here can be understood in both ways: (1.) the Eucharist gives us the blood of Christ as an earnest of our promised possession in heaven, or of the covenant entered into with us about it; (2.) this covenant was Christ’s last will, and is therefore a testament most important and most sure. Hence, too, the Apostle teaches us that Christ, the testator, sealed this testament with His blood. Cf. notes to Heb 8:10.

Do this, that I have just done—consecrate, offer as a sacrifice, take, distribute the Eucharist, as I have consecrated, offered, taken, and distributed it. Hence the Apostles were here ordained priests. So the Council of Trent says (sess. xxii. c. i), following the perpetual belief of the Church.

It may be objected that Christ did not say, “I have sacrificed: do you also sacrifice.” I answer 1, that neither did He say, “I have instituted the sacrament: do you celebrate it.” Nor did He say on the Cross, “I offer Myself as a sacrifice,” but He actually did so. So, too, this consecration was a real offering of sacrifice, inasmuch as by it, through a real transubstantiation, there was offered to the glory of God a most worthy victim, viz., the body of Christ under the species of an animal slain and dead, that is, a body separated from the blood as far as the act of consecration goes.

2. That the Eucharist is a sacrifice is also implied by the phrase “when He had supped.” In other words, after the sacrifice of the typical lamb, Christ instituted the true and blessed Eucharistic sacrifice which the lamb had foreshadowed. Since the Paschal lamb was a type of the Eucharist and was a sacrifice, as is agreed by all, it follows that the Eucharist is a sacrifice.

3. The word “testament” also implies the sacrifice of the Eucharist, for the blood by which covenants were ratified was the blood of victims. As then, when it is said in Exodus 24:8, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord hath made with you,” we understand the blood of the victims sacrificed, by which the old covenant was ratified; so when Christ said, “This is My blood of the new testament,” we must understand the blood of the sacrifice by which the new testament was ratified, and which was prefigured by the old covenant, and by the blood of the sacrifice. Lastly, in the Eucharist alone Christ is properly and perfectly the Priest after the order of Melchizedech; for on the cross (if the victim and its slaughter, the oblation and the effusion of the blood be considered) Christ was a Priest after the order of Aaron only, i.e.. His priesthood was like Aaron’s. So the Fathers lay down. See them quoted in Bellarmine (de Missd, lib. i. c. 6 and 12). This too is the voice and mind of the Church of all ages.

It may be said again that the Eucharist is a commemoration of the sacrifice on the Cross, and therefore it is not a sacrifice. I deny that this follows, for if so the ancient sacrifices would not be true sacrifices, although they prefigured the sacrifice of the Cross. Similarly, the Eucharist is a true sacrifice, though it is done in commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross.

1Co 11:26  For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

For as  often as you shall eat this bread, &c. Ye show it forth not only in word (as in the canon of the Mass are the words, “Wherefore we, mindful of Thy blessed Passion,” &c.), but better still in deed, both to yourselves and to the people. So Anselm, Theophylact, Ambrose.

Theophylact draws the moral lesson: “When you take the Eucharist you should feel Just as if you were with Christ on the evening of the Paschal feast and at supper with Him, lying by His side on the couch, and receiving from His own hands the sacred food; for that is the supper, and that is the death which we announce and show till His second advent.”

Take note that it is His death rather than the mighty deeds of His life that Christ bids us show. The reason is, that by His death the testament of Christ was completed, together with His last will, and our redemption, and the supreme love that He had for us, which caused Him to die for us. Of all these the Eucharist is the memorial.

S. Basil says tropologically (in Reg. Brev. 234): “We announce the Lord’s death when we die unto sin and live unto Christ, or wheti the world is crucified unto us and we unto the world.”

Lastly, S. Hippolytus (de Consumm. Mundi.) says, with S. Chrysostom and Theophylact, that the sacrifice and sacrament of the Eucharist will publicly last till the second coming of Christ and the coming of Anti-Christ, who will remove it, as Daniel foretold (12:11), and prevent it from being publicly celebrated at all events. S. Paul implies this when he says, :Until He come,” that is, till the glorious Lord come to judgment. Hence, as S. Thomas says, it appears that the celebration of the Eucharist will last to the end of the world.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of the entire chapter (11), followed by his commentary on 11:23-26. Text in purple is the Bishop’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on.


The Apostle undertakes, in this chapter, the correction of three abusive practices, which prevailed at Corinth. The first was, the indecorous practice on the part of the Corinthian females of appearing in the churches with heads uncovered, while the men appeared with their heads covered. In order to combat this abuse, he shows the relation of inferiority and subjection which the woman holds towards the man; whence he infers the deordination of the man appearing with covered head, and the woman with head uncovered, and from other reasons of congruity, and finally, from the practice of the Church, he demonstrates the same (1–16).

The second regarded their conduct at the Agapes, celebrated immediately before Holy Communion. He reproves the Corinthians for their dissensions on such occasions. He taxes the rich with a want of consideration for the poor, when they assemble together; and in order to bring them to a sense of what they owed this divine banquet, he relates the history of the institution of the adorable Eucharist (16–26).

The third regarded the sacrilegious impiety of unworthy communion. He points out its enormity (27), its antidote (28), and in order to stimulate them to greater diligence in their preparation for this divine banquet, he again depicts the enormity of unworthy communion (29). He refers to instances of its punishment even among themselves (30). He shows the mode of avoiding these punishments (31), and again reverts to the subject of the Agapes.

1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,

23. For I have received by revelation from the Lord himself immediately and directly (as, indeed, I have the entire Gospel, of which the doctrine of the Eucharist forms a prominent part), what I have already described to you by word of mouth touching this subject, viz., that the Lord Jesus, on the very night on which he was betrayed, took bread into his venerable and creative hands;

In order to point out the enormity of the sacrilegious communions, which were the great evils resulting from the excesses committed at the Agapes (see note), the Apostle repeats the loving history of the institution of the adorable Eucharist, which he had already, when among them, described orally, and to their forgetfulness of which, as well as of the sanctity of the mystery they were about to approach, their irreverences, their contempt of the entire church, their neglect of the poor, their excesses might be attributed. Note: The earliest Christians met in the houses of the more well-to-do among them in order to celebrate the Eucharist, for such houses were usually large enough to accommodate a sizable number of people. These meeting were usually held in the evenings, after the work day was through. Those who could, would often bring food to these gathering in order to share it with the poorer working people in a  meal preceding the Eucharist. For this reason the meals became known as Agape Meals (love feasts). It appears that some individuals and cliques began eating the food among themselves, not waiting for the arrival of the people dependent upon such meals. This lack of charity at thee meals showed a fundamental misunderstanding concerning the nature of the Eucharist, which became known as the Sacrament of Charity (see next paragraph).

“The same night on which he was betrayed.” This circumstance the Apostle mentions, in order to commend the excessive charity of Christ for us in this adorable institution, wherein our amiable Saviour poured forth all the riches of his Divine love for man (Council of Trent, SS. 13, ch. 2), and exhausted all the treasures of his infinite riches, all the inventions of wisdom, and all the efforts of infinite power.—(St. Augustine). Oh! how calculated is not the frequent consideration of the boundless love of our Blessed Jesus in the Sacrament of the altar—wherein he makes it his delight to remain with the children of men, even unto the end of the world, although the greater part of mankind are quite insensible to the incomprehensible prodigy of love, which he there never fails to exhibit—wherein he is prodigal of himself, to an extent that the mind of man could not fathom, and faith alone could believe—to draw us, to force us to love this disinterested lover who first loved us. What is the gift bestowed? On whom is it bestowed? How long is it to last? When was it given? Why was it given? At how great a sacrifice was it given? Shall not the consideration of these and the other circumstances of this Divine institution, force us to love our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!

1Co 11:24  And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me.

24. And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat, this is my body which shall be delivered for you. What I have now done, do you and your successors also to the end of time, in commemorat on of my bitter passion and death.

“And giving thanks.” These words express the act of returning thanks to his Heavenly Father, as well for his great benefit, which he had long pre-ordained, and which he is now immediately about to give, as for all his other blessings bestowed on mankind. The Evangelists add, in the history of the institution of the Eucharist—“he blessed”—the object of which benediction was, to implore upon the bread which he was about to consecrate, the Divine beneficence. In the Canon of the Mass, wherein the whole action is minutely and circumstantially detailed, are added the words, elevatis oculis in cœlum (He lifted his eyes to heaven), which he is presumed to have done on this as well as on the other occasions when he performed miracles; he did so in multiplying the bread (Matt 14), and in raising Lazarus from the grave (John 11).

“Broke.” According to some Expositors, he did this before consecration. These say, there was a two-fold breaking, the one referred to here, the other in the words, “this is my body which shall be delivered for you,” or, as in the Greek, which is broken for you, very expressive of his immolation and subjection to great tortures on the altar of the Cross. It seems, however, more probable that only one breaking took place, viz., that which occurred at the consecration, and of which the Apostle only gives a summary account, neglecting the order in which things took place.

“This is my body, which shall be delivered for you.” In Greek, τὁ ὑπερ ὑμῶν κλωμενον, which is broken for you, of course in the external species or appearances. The words, “which is broken,” although in the present tense, are used for a proximate future; they have a pregnans significatio, equivalent to “broken and given.” It corresponds with διδομενον (“which is given”), in St. Luke (22:19). Hence, it is well expressed by the Vulgate, tradetur. The word, κλωμενον, is wanting in the Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. From these words is derived a most solid and unanswerable proof of the real presence of the body and blood of our Lord in the blessed Sacrament.—(Concil. Trid. SS. xiii. c. 1). The words must have been understood in their plain, literal sense by the Apostles at the Last Supper; for, the Redeemer gave them no clue, that we are aware of, for understanding them, figuratively. On the contrary, the words of promise, which they had heard a year before (John, 6), and of which the fulfilment was deferred to the present moment, should have made them expect, that he would leave them his real body and blood, which it is clear, from the offence his words caused them, they understood him to promise.—(John, 6:62, &c.) Hence, our Blessed Redeemer could not have employed figurative language on this occasion, unless he had forewarned his Apostles, that he intended doing so; since, according to all the acknowledged laws of language, the man would be guilty of a he, who would employ language, in a figurative sense, which he knew his hearers were prepared to understand, literally. Now, the Apostles could be prepared to understand our Redeemer’s words, in the literal sense only: and his words, therefore, could be uttered in that sense only by our Divine Reedeemer. Taken literally, they clearly enunciate, and, therefore, prove the real presence. “Which shall be delivered for you;” according to this reading, adopted by the Vulgate, reference is made in these words to our Redeemer’s death upon the cross. If we follow the Greek reading, which is broken for you, the words express the present breaking of his body under the appearance or species of bread; and this breaking, which affects only the species, is referred to the substance contained under them, viz., the body and blood of Christ.

“This do for a commemoration of me,” i.e., in commemoration of his death and passion (as in verse 24). It is to be observed, that the three Evangelists (Matthew, chap. 26.; Mark, 14.; Luke, 22), and St. Paul here, give the same precise words in the consecration of the bread, “THIS IS MY BODY;” to which St. Luke adds, “which is given for you,” and St. Paul here, “which shall be delivered for you.”

1Co 11:25  In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

25. In like manner, after having first partaken of the Paschal supper, and also of the ordinary Jewish supper, he took the chalice, saying, this chalice, i.e., the contents of this chalice, is the authentic instrument of the New Testament, sealed and sanctioned in my blood, or, the thing contained in this chalice of my blood, it is, that ratifies and confirms the New Testament. As often as you shall drink of this, do it in commemoration of me.

“After he had supped.” These words are added in the account given by St. Paul of the consecration of the chalice; because, as is clear from the history of the Last Supper by St. Luke (22:17–20), there were two different chalices used on the occasion; one, the cup employed by the Jewish householder, before the Paschal supper; the other, the Eucharistic chalice, which is not to be confounded with the former—for, it was only after the Paschal Supper, and after the Jewish common supper also, that the Eucharistic chalice was consecrated. It is to be borne in mind, that it was only after the Paschal and the Jewish common suppers, which were used on the occasion of the Pasch (for the Jews had two suppers on this occasion, the Paschal and the common one), the bread also was transubstantiated; but this circumstance is omitted by the Apostle when describing the consecration of the bread; because, no confusion would result from such omission; whereas, if omitted in the history of the consecration of the cup, this Euchariastic cup might be confounded with that used at the common supper.

“This chalice,” the container for the thing contained.

“Is the new testament.” It is a “testament,” being the instrument through which a dying testator bequeathes a gift.

“New,” in opposition to the old, given by Moses; and, moreover, it conveys new blessings of a more exalted and spiritual character.

The form of the consecration of the chalice left us by St. Paul and St. Luke, is perfectly the same; “this chalice is the new testament in my blood,” to which St. Luke adds, τό ὑπερ ὑμῶν εκχυνομενον, “which shall be shed for you,” (chap. 22 verse 20). The form recorded by St. Matthew, which is the same as that of St. Mark, is somewhat different from that employed here by St. Paul and by St. Luke. In Matthew and Mark, the form is, “this is my blood of the new testament which shall be shed for many,” to which is added in St. Matthew, “unto the remission of sin.” The meaning of which is, that the new covenant of God with man, promising grace here and glory hereafter, on certain conditions, is ratified and sanctioned by the blood contained in the chalice; for it was by the effusion of the blood of Christ that these blessings were secured to man. The form here employed by St. Paul, and by St. Luke, “this chalice is the new testament,” &c., is reconciled by Piconio and A’Lapide with the form used by St. Matthew, “this is my blood of the new testament,” &c., in this way: they attach a different meaning to “testament,” in both cases. With St. Matthew, it means, the will itself. Here, according to them, it means the authentic instrument or copy of that will. Estius gives the word, “testament,” the same precise signification in both cases; he says, that the form here used by St. Paul means precisely the same thing with the form of St. Matthew. This chalice, or what is contained in this chalice of my blood, it is, that ratifies and confirms the new testament. Estius transposes the words, “in my blood,” as they are found in the form used here by St. Paul, and joins them with the word “chalice,” “this chalice in my blood,” which, according to him, means the same as “this chalice of my blood;” and he appears to insinuate that the difference of case “in my blood,” for, “of my blood,” is owing to some idiomatic peculiarity of language. This exposition has the advantage of giving the words used on this solemn occasion, the same fixed and definite meaning.

From this is clearly proved that the real blood of Christ was there; for, it was real blood that was shed in the testament of Moses, to which these words are allusive, and it would be perfectly unmeaning to suppose that the type was dedicated in real blood, and the antitype, only in the figure of blood.

“This do ye, as often as you shall drink,” &c. It is the doctrine of the Council of Trent (SS. xxii. chap. 1, de Missæ Sacrif.) that, at the institution of the adorable Eucharist, our Redeemer constituted his Apostles priests of the new testament, and commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to offer up (his body and blood), under the symbols or appearances of bread and wine, when he uttered the words, “Do this in commemoration of me.”

The precept conveyed in this and the preceding verses, by no means implies that the faithful are bound to receive communion under both kinds. For, our Redeemer directly addresses his priests, and commands them to offer sacrifice; to do, what he has done, to the end of time, in commemoration of his bitter death and passion. The only precept indirectly, or, rather, by correlative obligation binding on the faithful, is, to receive the Eucharist from the hands of their pastors, and in receiving it, to commemorate the death of Christ. But there is no command imposed on them to receive it under two kinds. Nay, the very conditional form in which our Redeemer speaks, when referring to the chalice, “this is ye as often as you shall drink.” &c., would imply the contrary; for why employ a condition if it were absolutely imperative? The command goes no farther in reference to the faithful, than to commemorate the death of Christ, when approaching to Holy Communion, and this may be done even under one kind. No doubt, Holy Communion was given in the early ages under both kinds; but, this was only a matter of discipline which might vary, but not of precept, which it was not in the power of the Church to change. She, for wise reasons, changed the discipline of former ages, and now allows Communion to be given to the faithful under one kind only. The precept of receiving under both kinds, only regarded the priests offering sacrifice, and the sacrifice most perfectly “shewed” forth the death of Christ, under the two distinct kinds.

1Co 11:26  For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

26. As often, then, as you shall partake of this bread (transubstantiated into the body), and drink the chalice (changed into the blood of Christ), you shall announce the death of the Lord until he comes to judge the world.

In this verse, the Apostle explains the precept included in the institution of the Eucharist, as regarded the faithful, viz., that as often as they partook of the body and blood of Christ, they should announce his death, until he comes to judge the world. The Eucharist, therefore, is to continue till the end of time. “And drink the chalice,” the common Greek has, ποτηριον τουτο, this chalice, but, this, is cancelled by the best critics, on the authority of the chief MSS. “You shall shew.” The Greek is in the present, “you do show,” καταγγελλετε.


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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 9:12-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

9:12-17. And the day began to decline: and the twelve drew near, and said unto Him, Send the multitudes away, and let them go into the villages, and fields round about, and lodge, and find victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But He said unto them, Give ye them to eat. But they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fishes: unless we go and buy food for all this people. But they were about five thousand men. And He said to His disciples, Make them sit down in companies of fifty each. And they did so, and made them all sit down. And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He looked up to heaven and blessed them, and brake, and gave to His disciples to set before the multitudes. And they did eat, and were all filled: and that which remained over unto them was taken up, even twelve baskets of fragments.


THE Jews, in my opinion, have not a single argument that can serve before the tribunal of God as a defence for their disobedience: for their opposition had no appearance of reason on its side. And why so? Because the law of Moses, by shadows and figures, led them unto the mystery of Christ. For the law, or rather the things it contained, was symbolical, and in it the mystery of Christ was depicted by type and shadow as in a painting. And the blessed prophets also foretold long before that in due time there should come One to redeem all beneath the heaven, and further proclaimed the very place of His birth in the flesh, and the signs that He would accomplish. But they were so obdurate, and their mind so indiscriminately set upon that alone which agreed with their prejudices, that they would not receive the words of instruction, nor be brought to obedience even by miracles so splendid and glorious.


Such then was their conduct: but let us, who have acknowledged the truth of His appearing, offer Him our praises for His godlike works; such as that which the passage before us records. For we learn by it, that our Saviour from time to |208 time went out from Jerusalem and other cities and towns, followed by multitudes, some seeking deliverance from the tyranny of devils, or recovery from sickness; but others desiring to receive instruction from Him, and constantly with great earnestness, remaining with Him, that they might be made fully acquainted with His sacred doctrines. When then the day was declining, as the Evangelist says, and evening had all but arrived, the disciples had care of the multitudes, and drew near, offering requests on their behalf. For they said, “Send them away, that they may go into the neighbouring villages and fields, and lodge and find victuals; for we are in a desert place.”


But let us carefully inquire what is the meaning of the expression “Send them away.” For we shall see by it both the admirable faith of the holy apostles, and also the supernatural and wonderful power of Christ the Saviour of us all, in whatsoever He willeth to perform. For, as I said, some of them followed beseeching Him to deliver thorn from the evil spirits that oppressed them, while others sought recovery from various maladies. Since, therefore, the disciples knew that by the mere assent of His will he could accomplish for those sick persons what they wanted, they say “Send them away:” not so speaking as though they were themselves at all annoyed, and considered that the proper time had gone by; but seized with love toward the multitudes, and beginning to have a concern for the people, as being already intent upon their pastoral office: so that we may even take pattern by them ourselves. For to draw near, and make supplication on the people’s behalf, is an act becoming to the saints, and the duty of spiritual fathers, and the proof of a mind that has regard not to selfish objects alone, but already considers as its own the interests of others: of which surpassing love this is a clear and very evident instance. And if we may be permitted to carry our argument above the level of human things, we say, for the benefit of such as meet with it, that when in earnest prayer we continue with Christ, whether asking of Him healing for the maladies of our souls, or deliverance from other sicknesses, or desiring to obtain anything whatsoever for our advantage; there is no doubt that when we ask in prayer any thing that is good for us, there supplicate in our behalf both the |209 intelligent powers, and those holy men who have freedom of access unto Him.


But observe the incomparable gentleness of Him Whom they supplicate. For not only does He grant all that they ask Him to bestow on those who followed Him, but also adds thereto of His own bountiful right hand; refreshing in every way those that love Him, and nurturing them unto spiritual courage. And this we may see from what has now been read. For the blessed disciples besought Christ that those who were following Him, having had their requests granted them, might be sent away, and disperse as they best could. But He commanded them to supply them with food. The thing, however, was impossible in the eyes of the disciples, for they had brought nothing with them but five loaves and two fishes: and this they drew near and confessed to Him. To magnify, therefore, the greatness of the miracle, and make it in every way evident that He is in His own nature God, He multiplies that little many times, and looks up to heaven to ask a blessing from above, being intent in this also upon our good. For He is Himself That which filleth all things, being the blessing that cometh from above from the Father. But that we may learn that when we commence a meal, and are about to break bread; it is our duty to offer it to God, placing it, so to speak, upon our stretched out hands, and calling down a blessing upon it from above, He purposely became our precedent, and type, and example in the matter.


But what was the result of the miracle? It was the satisfying a large multitude with food: for there were as many as five thousand men besides women and children, according to what another of the holy Evangelists has added to the narrative. Nor did the miracle end here; but there were also gathered twelve baskets of fragments. And what do we infer from this? A plain assurance that hospitality receives a rich recompense from God. The disciples offered five loaves: but |210 after a multitude thus large had been satisfied, there was gathered for each one of them a basketful of fragments. Let nothing therefore prevent those who are willing from receiving strangers, whatever there may be likely to blunt the will and readiness of men thereunto: and let no one say, “I do not possess suitable means; what I can do is altogether trifling and insufficient for many.” Receive strangers, my beloved; overcome that unreadiness which wins no reward: for the Saviour will multiply thy little many times beyond expectation, and though thou givest but little, thou wilt receive much. “For he that soweth blessings shall also reap blessings,” according to the blessed Paul’s words.


The feeding, therefore, of the multitudes in the desert by Christ is worthy of all admiration; but it is also profitable in another way. For we can plainly see that these new miracles accord with those in old time, and that they are the acts of one and the same power. “He rained manna in the desert upon the Israelites; He gave them bread from heaven; man did eat angels’ food,” according to the words of praise in the Psalms. But lo! again in the desert He has abundantly supplied those in need of food, bringing it down, as it were, from heaven. For His multiplying that little many times, and feeding, so to speak, with nothing so large a multitude, is not unlike that former miracle. And to address myself once again to the throng of the Jews, Thou wast in need of the natural water, when thou wast walking in that long wilderness; and God gave thee thy desire beyond thy hopes, and from an unlooked-for quarter. For, as the Psalmist says, “He clave the rock in the desert; He gave them drink as from the vast abyss; and He brought forth water out of the rock, and made water flow like rivers.” Tell me then, when thou hadst drunk, didst thou praise the Worker of the miracle? Didst thou raise thy tongue for thanksgiving? or wast thou induced by what had happened to acknowledge the ineffable power of God? Not so: for thou murmuredst against God, saying, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? If He smote the rock, and the waters flowed, and He made the streams overflow; can He also give bread, or prepare a |211 table for His people? Thou wast not astonished at seeing the flint rock the source of copious rivers; fountains issuing marvellously from stones, and streams running with rapid force, but imputedst weakness to Him Who is Almighty. And yet how was it not rather thy duty to perceive that He is the Lord of powers? How indeed could He be unable to prepare a table, Who made the flint rock a fountain and a stream, flowing over for that multitude?


But since thou hast brought thyself to so great folly as to imagine that there is anything impossible with God, and with empty babble hast said that He cannot prepare a table for His people in the wilderness, answer the question we now put to thee: Wilt thou embrace the faith now that thou seest a table prepared by Christ in the wilderness, and an innumerable multitude so abundantly supplied with food that twelve baskets of remnants were collected? or wilt thou still refuse to believe, and ask another sign? When, therefore, wilt thou be found believing? When wilt thou cease from finding fault with the ineffable power of Christ? When wilt thou put a door and bolt to thy tongue? and delivering it from the language of blasphemy, change it to a better use by praising Him, so that thou also mayest be a partaker of the blessings He bestows? For His mercies are revealed upon those who love Him, and He delivers them from all sickness. He supplies them also with spiritual food, by means of which each one attains to manliness in every thing that is praiseworthy. But upon the unbelieving and contemptuous He bestows no such gifts, but rather brings upon them that condemnation which they fitly deserve. For by one of His holy prophets He as it were said unto them, “Behold, they who serve Me shall eat, but ye shall suffer hunger. Behold, they who serve Me shall drink, but ye shall thirst. Behold, they who submit themselves to Me shall rejoice in happiness, while ye shall lament from sorrow of heart, and wail from contrition of spirit.” And again it is written, “The Lord killeth not the righteous soul with hunger, but wasteth the life of the wicked.”

For the flocks of the believers have, as it were, a pasture full of divers plants and flowers, in the holy Scriptures, which are their wise guides: and filled with spiritual joy at the glorious doctrines and instructions which they contain, they |212 frequent the sacred courts. And this it is which long ago was proclaimed in the words of Isaiah: “And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, running waters upon that day.” And again; “And the mountains shall drop sweetness: and the hills flow with milk.” For it is the custom of divine Scripture to compare to mountains and hills those set over others, and whose office it is to teach, inasmuch as they are high exalted, in respect, I mean, of their thoughts being occupied with elevated subjects, and withdrawn from things earthly: while the waters and the sweetness and the milk are the instructions which flow from them as from fountains. “There shall be then, He says, at that time from every high mountain, and from every high hill, flowing waters, and sweetness and milk.” And these are the spiritual consolations of holy instructors, offered to the people under their charge. Of these the Jewish congregations are deprived, because they did not receive Christ, the Lord of the hills and mountains, the Giver of spiritual consolation, Who offers Himself as the bread of life to those who believe in Him: for He it is Who came down from heaven, and gave life to the world: by Whom, and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen. (source)

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 6:55-58

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 26, 2013

Joh 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.

For My Flesh, &c., indeed, i.e., not parabolically nor figuratively, as Euthymius says from S. Chrysostom, but really and properly, according to the plain meaning of the words. Hence S. Chrysostom (Hom. 61. ad. Pop.) teaches that we in the Eucharist are united and commingled with the Flesh of Christ, not only by love and consent of will, but also really and substantially. “Wherefore,” saith he, “He hath commingled Himself with us, and united His Body to ours, that we should be made one whole, even as a body is connected with its head. This is the desire of ardent lovers. It is this which Job hinted at, saying to his servants, to whom he was beyond measure desirable, because they showed their desire, saying, ‘Who will give us to be filled with his flesh?’” (Job xxxi.) “Not only does Christ afford Himself to be seen by those who desire Him, but even to be handled and eaten, to have our teeth fastened in His Flesh, and to fulfil every desire. As lions therefore breathe out fire, so let us depart from that Table, made terrible to the devil, and contemplating our Head in our minds, and the charity which He has manifested towards us.”

Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.

He that eateth, &c. Observe (1.) S. John delights in the word abide. By it he sometimes signifies delay, and duration of time (as in John 1:33), He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining (abiding). Sometimes, however, by the expression abides he expresses, moreover, indwelling and intimate union, as here and in his 1st Epistle (1 Jn 3:9), “His seed,” i.e., of the grace of God, “abideth in him.” And in 1 Jn 4:16, “He that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him.”

Observe (2.) the abiding and union of the soul with Christ in the Eucharist not only takes place by the Eucharist Itself, but by the Eucharist in such manner that Christ being therein hidden, really and corporeally enters into our body, and so Christ with us, and we with the flesh of Christ, and by consequence with His Person, Divinity and omnipotence are really united and commingled, even as food is really united and commingled with our flesh. So S. Chrysostom observes, “He saith, abideth in Me, that He may show we are commingled with Himself.” And Euthymius, “He abideth in Me; he is united to Me by the reception and communication of My Flesh and My Blood, and is made one body with Me.” Theophylact, “In this place we are taught the Sacrament of communion. For he who eats and drinks the Flesh and Blood of the Lord, abides in the Lord Himself, and the Lord in Him. For there is a new sort of commingling, and one beyond understanding, that God is in us, and we in God.”  S. Cyril in this verse brings forward the apt similitude of wax. “It is as if when any one should pour wax into liquefied wax; it must be that the one should commingle with the other throughout. So if any one receive the Flesh and Blood of the Lord, he is so conjoined with Him, that Christ is found in him, and he in Christ.” And shortly afterwards, “As a little leaven, as Paul says, leaveneth the whole lump, so a little benediction draws the whole man into Himself (Christ), and fills him with His grace: and thus Christ abides in us, and we in Him. For truly the whole leaven passes into the whole lump. And this is the meaning of the passage.” The same Cyril also declares (lib. 10, c. 13) that Christ is in us, “not only through the indwelling, which is meant by love, but also by a participation of nature.”

S. Hilary teaches the same (lib. 8, de Trin.), and S. Irenæus (lib. 4, c. 34). Hence S. Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat. 4. Mystag.) declares, that in Holy Communion we become Christ-bearers, yea concorporate and united by consanguinity with Christ. Moreover Christ really abides with us so long as the sacramental species of bread and wine remain in us. But when they are digested and consumed by the stomach, Christ ceases indeed to live in us as Man substantially; but still through that previous union which He has contracted with us, the spiritual life of our souls is by His grace fed, strengthened and preserved for eternity. For (His Flesh) is grafted into our body as it were a seed of immortality. Which seed, as I have said, is not physical, but moral, like the merit of good works. For as a good work leaves after it merit, as it were a seed of glory, as it were a sort of title to eternal life, so does the communion of the Holy Eucharist leave a similar new title (jus), one peculiar to Itself, after It, unto the same life, as it were a seed of glory in us. For Christ grants this title to communicants through contact with, and partaking of His life-giving Body. For it is fitting and becoming that Christ should impart His own glorious life to those to whom He imparts Himself. “For it surely behoved,” says Cyril, “that not only the soul should rise to the blessed life by the Holy Ghost, but also that this worthless and earthly body should, by the taste of that which is akin to it, by contact and by food, be brought back to immortality.” The Flesh of Christ, therefore, in the Eucharist is the moral instrument of the Resurrection. Would you learn the physical cause of the same? It is this. The Deity of Christ in the Eucharist is the physical cause of the resurrection. To understand this from the foundation, observe that Christ as God, by the grace given and infused into a man by the reception of the Eucharist, even after the Eucharistic species have been consumed in the stomach, really dwells in the man, not only as in His temple by charity, but also as food in his stomach by way of nutriment. For as digested food nourishes and feeds the stomach, and through it all the limbs and members to which the stomach transmits the food, so in like manner the Divinity of Christ with His Flesh taken in the Eucharist, as it were the Food of soul and body, because it cannot be digested and consumed by man, abides continually in, as it were, the stomach of the soul, and nourishes and feeds it, and by it all the faculties and powers of the soul. And this is what Christ here saith, He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him. For the Deity of Christ as it were food abides always in the soul, feeding it; and the soul in her turn abides in the Deity of Christ, as an immortal and life-giving Food. For she abides as it were in Life itself, which feeds us continually with the influx of habitual grace, and at stated periods by the infusion of fresh actual grace, as by fresh holy illuminations, fresh inspirations, new pious affections and impulses sent into the soul, that we may become the same that Christ is, says S. Gregory Nyssen. And thus we are made spiritual, holy and divine, and that daily more and more, and have always in the stomach both of our body and our soul the very Divinity of Christ, as it were the tree of life, so that It in Its own time, in the day of judgment and the general resurrection, will communicate to us Its own immortal, blessed and Divine life. Thus sometimes medicine, a long time after it has been taken and digested, through the virtue which it leaves after it, works and heals, even though it at first makes those who take it more sick, because it attacks the depraved humours (of the body), and fights with them until it purges and expels them; and when they are expelled, it restores the body to its pristine purity and health.

The following is the order of things in the communion of the Eucharist. (1.) Through the receiving of the Eucharist, the Flesh and Blood of Christ, yea whole Christ, i.e., His Humanity and Divinity, as it were food, enters into us, and abides in us. (2.) The species of the Eucharist being digested by the stomach, and converted into our flesh (for the matter of the bread and wine which had been annihilated in consecration, comes back by the power of God), the Flesh and Humanity of Christ cease to be in us: but the Divinity of Christ, as it were immortal Food, remains in us. And This (3.) communicates Its own eternal life to the soul, nourishes and augments it by continually feeding in the way of which I have spoken. (4.) The Same will raise our bodies from death at the resurrection, and unite them to our souls, and so bestow the life of eternal glory upon the whole man, inasmuch as we have the Eucharist, at least as regards the Divinity of Christ which it contains, as it were the food and medicine of immortality always in our body and our soul. And by means of It Christ abides in us, as He Himself here asserts, inasmuch as He is very God. But God will be the physical cause of our resurrection as the Flesh of Christ will be the moral cause of the same. And although our flesh must first die, even as the Flesh of Christ died, yet this food of the Eucharist, that is, Christ as God always abiding in a man, will raise him up from death unto life eternal. This is what Christ saith, I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. For Christ as God, not as man, came down from heaven. He that eateth, &c.—because as food It always sustains and nourishes him into eternal life. Nor indeed can these words be otherwise explained. As therefore food, after it has been digested, leaves its power to nourish in the chile which remains, so the species of the Eucharist after they have been digested, leave in a manner their power of nourishing unto eternal life in the Divinity of Christ which with grace remains, For His Humanity by His own ordinances has been tied to the species of bread and wine, that so long as they remain, It also should remain, and when they are consumed that It should cease to be present, as S. Thomas and the rest of the Theologians teach. In like manner after a good work there remains in us not only habitual grace, but also the Divinity Itself, and the Whole Most Holy Trinity, which makes us to be partakers of the Divine nature, and sons of God.

Here observe by the way a threefold distinction between the Eucharist and common food. (1.) The first is that common food does not remain in us, but is converted into chile, and then into blood, and then into the flesh and substance of our several members. But in the Eucharist the Flesh of Christ is not converted into the substance of him who eateth, but remains uncorrupt and unchanged in Itself, forasmuch as It is immortal and glorious. This is what Christ said to a certain Saint, “Thou shalt not change Me into thyself, but thou shalt be changed into Me.”

(2.) The second is, that common food is of itself without life, but is animated, and receives life from him that eateth it. But the Flesh of Christ in the Eucharist is both living and life-giving, giving life to him that eateth It.

(3.) Bread and food leave behind no part of themselves, because they are wholly converted into chile, and transfuse into it their power of nourishing. But the Flesh of Christ in the Eucharist, after the species being consumed, the bread has vanished, leaves after It, Its own hypostasis, that is to say, the Person of the Word, and His Divinity, on account of which Christ is here said to remain in him that eateth, and to raise him up, and he that eateth to remain in Christ. So Cyril and the Fathers cited above. Also S. Ambrose (lib. 6, de Sacrament, c. 1), whom hear. “How then did the Bread, even the Living Bread come down from heaven? Because the same our Lord Jesus Christ is a partaker both of Deity and of a body; and thou who receivest His Flesh, art partaker through that Food of His Divine Substance.” So too, S. Hilary (lib. 8, de Trin.) “He Himself is in us through His Flesh, whilst we are with Him in This which is in God.”

Joh 6:57  As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.

As the living Father, &c. . . . hath sent Me, in the Flesh into the world, through the Incarnation, for the salvation of men. The living Father, who is Himself Divine Life, uncreated Substance, and therefore in begetting Me hath communicated to Me the same Substance, that I might communicate the same to the Humanity, which He sent Me to assume, that I might communicate similar spiritual, holy, blessed and eternal life to the faithful who eat of Me.

And I live by (propter) the Father, i.e., through the Father, of the Father. For the Father in begetting Me communicates to Me His own Divinity, which is the essence of life. For God hath begotten God, the Living One hath begotten the Living One. “The Son therefore,” saith Cyril, “is as Light of Light, and as Life of Life. And as the Father gives light through the Son to the things which need light, and through Him does wisely, so through the Son as through His life which proceeds from Him, He quickens those things which have need of life.” And again, “I live by (propter) the Father: for since My Father is Life by nature, and because I am by nature His Son, I naturally possess this property of His nature, that is life.”

Here Christ gives the reason by which He is living and quickening Bread in the Eucharist, who will raise us from death at the judgment-day. And He opens out the very origin and fountain of life and resurrection. For God the Father is that Fount of life, according to the words, “With Thee is the Fountain of life” (Ps 35:10). And He communicates together with His Essence this life to His Son, whereby it comes to pass that the Son Himself is a Fountain of Life. Wherefore as the Father always abides in the Son, always imparts this source of life to the Son, so also the Son, being sent by the Father in the flesh, and abiding in it, continually infuses this Divine life into the flesh and the Humanity which He has assumed, and continually abiding in us, inspires the like life into us who receive His Flesh in the Eucharist. He therefore shall live by Me, that as the Father communicates His own life to the Son, so Christ communicates His life to the Christian who rightly receives Him. Wherefore S. Dionysius the Areopagite (de Eccles. Hierarch. c. 1) teaches that the Priest passes into fellowship with the Godhead, and (c. 2) that communion deifies, and (c. 3) that those who worthily communicate are by the similitude of a pure and divine life grafted into Christ. Moreover, the Eucharist does the same thing for the pure and the penitent. Whence S. Augustine (Serm. 1, de Temp.) says, “Let him change his life, who wishes to receive Life. For if he change not his life, he will receive Life unto condemnation, and will rather be destroyed than healed by It: rather slain than quickened.” For the impure and the impenitent receive not life, but death of body and soul, both now and eternally, from the Eucharist. Thus S. Cyprian (Serm. 5, de Laps.), speaking of a woman who communicated unworthily, says, “She received not bread, but a sword, and as it were taking some deadly poison she was shaken, trembled, and fell. She who had deceived man, felt the vengeance of God.” He relates several cases of a similar kind. Durandus also (Ration. Divin. 0ff. lib. 6, c. 10) relates that the pestilence which ravaged Rome, from the time of Pope Pelagius until Gregory the Great, and caused many thousand deaths, was sent by God in punishment of those, who, after the Lenten fast and the Easter communion, returned to their former wickedness. For they were to be visited with death who profaned the Eucharist, which is true life.

The meaning then is, “As the Father, who liveth by Himself, and is the Essence itself of life, hath sent Me into this world, and I have life from Him who begat Me, life, I say, both human, from a human soul, and of greater importance, Divine life, through partaking of the Godhead, with which My humanity is hypostatically united, and will be united for ever, so in like manner he who eateth the living Me, also from Me, ever abiding in Him as regards My Godhead, shall receive a perpetual life of grace and glory; and as regards his body, I will in due time raise it up into a blessed and eternal life.” Christ here signifies that the life which is originally in the Father is communicated to us through the Son and the Eucharist, as by an organic means. So Leontius, Jansen, and others. But above the rest, S. Cyril, whom hear, “As I am made man by the will of the Father, who came forth from essential life, and as being man I live, and have filled My body with Life, no otherwise shall he who eateth My flesh live by Me. For I assumed mortal flesh; but because I exist as life essentially, dwelling in the flesh, I have made it wholly like unto My own life. For I indeed am not conquered by the death of the flesh, but as God I have overcome all death and destruction.” And shortly afterwards, “As the Father hath sent Me, so that I am become man, yet I live by the Father, that is, I perfectly preserve the Father’s nature: so he who shall receive Me by eating My flesh shall surely live, being made wholly like unto Me, who am able to give him life, because I am of the living Father.” He adds a simile taken from red-hot iron. For as the fire communicates its heat to the red-hot iron, so does the living Christ impart His life unto us in the Eucharist. In admiration of this S. Augustine exclaims (lib. 7, Confess. c. 10), “0 eternal Truth, and true Charity, and sweet Eternity, I tremble with love and dread, as though I heard Thy voice from on high saying, ‘I am the Bread of the strong: grow as thou shalt eat Me.’”

Observe here the gradation, by which life gradually descends to us from God as it were by stairs. The first step is, the Father communicating His own Divine Essence to the Son. The second, when the Son communicates the same life to the Humanity which He assumed by the participation of attributes. Third, when He inspires the life of grace and glory which He shares with It. The fourth, when He infuses not equal but like life into us in the Eucharist.

Lastly, Christ here signifies what I have spoken of in the preceding verse, that His Godhead which always abides in us, after the reception of the Eucharist, even after the species have been consumed, continually causes the life of grace to flow into us, and will after death raise us up again unto immortal life. This is what He means when He saith, I live by the Father, &c. He means, Because I receive Godhead, which is pure life from the Father, so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. For My Godhead abiding in him, will continually breathe into his soul the breath of life. And his body shall after death be raised up by It to the beatific life. It is as the seminal virtue which lies hid in the heart of a grain of wheat, that seems dead through the winter, but in spring by the heat of the sun opening out its force, it, as it were, raises the grain of wheat itself from death, and causes it to germinate, and produce thirty and sixty fold.

Joh 6:58  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live for ever.

This is the bread, &c. He intimates the same thing which I have said at the end of the foregoing verse. For Christ came down from heaven not as man, but as God. Wherefore he who eateth Him in the Eucharist shall live for ever, because in truth he eateth God and the Godhead, which being ever present with him who eateth, continually breathes into him His own life. Hear S. Ambrose (Serm. 18 in Ps. cxviii.), “How shall he die whose food is Life?” And presently, describing its wonderful effects, “Draw nigh unto Him, and be filled, for He is Bread. Draw nigh unto Him, and drink, for He is a Fountain. Draw nigh unto Him, and be enlightened, for He is Light. Draw nigh unto Him, and be free, for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Draw nigh unto Him, and be absolved; for He is remission of sins.” And S. Bernard (Serm. de Cæna. Dom.) says, “Two things that Sacrament worketh in you: it diminishes the sense (of sin) in the least matters, and in graver sins it wholly takes away consent.” And again he says, “If any of you feel neither so frequently nor so severely the motions of anger, envy, lust, and such like passions, give thanks to the Body and Blood of the Lord, forasmuch as the virtue of the Sacrament worketh in you.” And S. Chrysostom on Ps 22:5 (Vulg.), saith upon the words, “Thou hast prepared a table before me, against them that trouble me,” “Let those who have trouble of the flesh come to the table of the Mighty One, and tribulation shall be turned into consolation.” Lastly, S. Cyril says, “The body of Christ quickens, and by our participation of it restores us to incorruption. For it is the body of none other than of the Life itself. It retains the virtue of the Word Incarnate, and is full of the power of Him by whom all things live and have their being.”

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Video: Paschal Sacrifice~A Heavenly Banquet for Earthly Beggers by Dr. Scott Hahn

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 14, 2013

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Eucharist, liturgy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:11-14, 18

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 13, 2012

This post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s summary analysis of Hebrews 11, followed by his notes on verses 11-14 and 18. I’ve included (in purple) his paraphrasing of the text he is commenting on.

The Apostle, having shown in the preceding chapter, that one bloody oblation of Christ had amply atoned for sin and answered all the ends of universal redemption, proceeds to show, in this, that Christ alone could redeem us and remit sin For, as to the law and the sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood, in which the Hebrews so much confided, he proves by several arguments, from verse 1 to 19, that they contained no efficacy whatever for the remission of sin. First, the law and the legal sacrifices were only the shadow of the future goods promised us by Christ; but not the reality promised. Secondly, the repetition of these sacrifices—and reference is directly made to the annual great sacrifice of expiation—for the self-same sins that were before remitted, proves their inefficacy for remitting sin. And thirdly, it was impossible for the blood of animals, of its own nature and intrinsic efficacy, to remit sin, as the Hebreivs vainly imagined (Heb 10:1-5).

The Apostle proves from Sacred Scripture, the inefficacy of the ancient sacrifices for the remission of sin. He introduces Christ addressing his Father, Psalm 40, “Sacrifices and oblations,” &c., andfrom this prophetic quotation, he draws a twofold conclusion—first, by saying “Sacrifices…thou wouldst not,” Christ has shown the abolition of the sacrifices referred to; and secondly, by saying, “Behold I come,” &c., the institution of the second description of sacrifice, which Christ offered according to the will of God (Heb 10:6-10).

Their repetition proved the inefficacy not only of the annual sacrifices, but also the inefficacy of the daily sacrifices, offered morning and evening among the Jews; whereas Christ, by one bloody oblation of himself, has made full atonement for sin, and purchased a treasure of grace for sanctifying men, at all times (Heb 10:11-14). The Apostle then proves, from the ProphetJeremias, the inefficacy of the ancient sacrificesfor remitting sin (Heb 10:15-19).

Having proved the abrogation of the legal sacrifices, and shown the superior excellence of the priesthood of Christ, and of his sacrifice over the Levitical priesthood and their offerings, he exhorts the Hebrews to constancy in the faith (Heb 10:19-21). He deters them from committing the dreadful crime of apostasy (Heb 10:24-31). He calms the fears which his words were calculated to inspire, by reminding them of their past good works of charity (Heb 10:32-34). Finally, he exhorts them to hold out for a short time, when they shall reap the full fruit of their past labours and sufferings.

Heb 10:11  And every priest indeed standeth daily ministering and often offering the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.

And not only does the high priest  annually repeat the sacrifice of expiation (making a commemoration of the same sins), but in the daily sacrifices, at which the priests minister in turn, the same victims are offered, the same repetition made—hence, they too, for a like reason, cannot take away sins.

In this verse he proceeds to show, that the circumstance of their repetition did not prove the inefficacy of the annual sacrifices of expiation only; that it also proved the same, for a like reason, in regard to the daily sacrifices, offered morning and evening, by the priests in their turn. “And every priest standeth,” in fear and awe; “daily ministering,” morning and evening (Numbers 28)  “Often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin,” any more than could the annual sacrifice of expiation, offered by the high priest alone.

Heb 10:12  But this man, offering one sacrifice for sins, for ever sitteth on the right hand of God,

But Christ, after having offered one sacrifice, which satisfies for all sins, sitteth glorious at the right hand of God.

“But this man offering one sacrifice,” i.e., after having offered one sacrifice. The Greek for “offering,” προσενεγκας, means, having offered. “Sitteth” in glory and triumph. The Jewish priest “stood” with fear and awe; he “sitteth” in glory and majesty.

Heb 10:13  From henceforth expecting until his enemies be made his footstool.

Awaiting the time, when his enemies shall be made his footstool.

Nor will he leave this seat of glory until his enemies are prostrated, according to the promise of the Royal Prophet (Psalm 110:1)—”Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” This subjection of all things to Christ will be manifested at the end of the world.

Heb 10:14  For by one oblation he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

For by one bloody oblation of himself-an oblation of infinite value, extending to all generations-he perfected those who are sanctified at all times; in other words, by this one bloody oblation of himself, he made atonement for all sin, and purchased the treasures of grace, whereby men are sanctified at all times.

He need not leave heaven to repeat, like the Jewish priest, the bloody oblation of himself; for, by one such oblation, he has compassed all the ends of Redemption, he has made perfect atonement for sin, and merited the graces, whereby men are, at all times, sanctified.

Objection.—Against the sacrifice of the Mass. In these two chapters, the Apostle allows only one oblation of Christ, therefore, he excludes the repeated oblation of him in the Mass, as opposed to the unity of his offering.

Answer.—The oblation of Christ referred to by the Apostle in these chapters, and the repetition of which he rejects, is the bloody oblation on the cross; for, there is question of the oblation, by which “he perfected” (or sanctified) “all;” i.e., redeemed mankind, and atoned for sin; the oblation wherein, if repeated, he should suffer death (Heb 9:26). But, from the fact that he cannot be offered up again, in a bloody manner, can it be inferred, that he cannot be offered, in an unbloody manner? As well might it be inferred from the fact of God having promised, that the world would not be again destroyed by water, that therefore, it is not to be destroyed in any other way, whether by water or by fire, which would be contrary to faith. Christ is offered up, in an unbloody manner, in the sacrifice of the Mass; and the Apostle, for reasons already assigned, does not refer to that oblation; it does not fall within his scope; nor, perhaps, would it be expedient at the time, to do so.

Objection-. But, by saying, he can be offered, only once, does he not exclude a second oblation or more; and hence, the oblation made of him, in the Mass?

Answer.—He excludes a second oblation of the same kind, and presented in the same way. The unity of Christ’s oblation is insisted on, in opposition to other reiterated oblations. Now, to any person attentively examining the reasoning of the Apostle, in these two chapters, it must appear quite clear, that the opposition instituted is, between the bloody oblation of Christ on the cross, and the annual and daily sacrifices of the Jews, the efficacious
and fruitful unity of the former being contrasted with the useless multiplicity of the latter. The objection, therefore, is quite inconclusive; Christ will not be offered up a second time—which, to be true, must mean—in a bloody manner. Therefore, he will not be offered up, in an unbloody manner. Just as conclusive would it be to say—The world will not be destroyed again by the waters of deluge. Therefore, it will be destroyed in no other way, and it shall be eternal. The Apostle excludes the repetition of the sacrifice of Christ in the Mass, as a redemptory sacrifice, as making atonement and offering
satisfaction for sin; in which respect only, the sacrifice of Christ is contrasted with the annual and daily sacrifices among the Jews; he never contemplates rejecting the repetition, or rather the continuation of the same, in an unbloody manner, as applicatory of the merits purchased on the cross. On the cross, an infinite treasure of merit was purchased; a satisfaction offered, adequate to make reparation for the sins of ten thousand worlds. But, no Christian can deny that by the institution of God himself, there are certain channels required for the application to our souls, in a limited degree, of this treasure of grace, in itself infinite. What else is the end of the sacrament of baptism, to which all Christians have recourse for the remission of original sin?—and Catholics regard the sacrifice of the Mass, as a channel through which are applied to us the merits and graces purchased on the cross. Surely, it cannot be alleged that the sins of the elect are directly remitted by the merits of Christ, the instant they are committed. Would this not be plainly opposed to the precept, inculcated in several passages of SS. Scripture, of recurring to baptism for the remission of sin? Would not be opposed to the words of our redeemer:—” He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that beheveth not, shall be condemned?”—(Mark 16:16). It is opposed to the manner in which the Jews converted after St. Peter’s first sermon were justified. They were told, “to do penance, and to be baptized, every one of them, for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:28). Now, on their justification was to be modeled that of all the Gentiles, who at the preaching of the Apostles did penance, believed, were baptized, and their sins thus remitted.

Heb 10:18  Now, where there is a remission of these, there is no more an oblation for sin.

Now, where these are remitted, and a ransom adequate to make atonement for them offered, there is no further need for any such oblation for sin.

“Now where there is remission of sin,” &c. There is no necessity for repeating oblations for sins already remitted. This is quite clear, if there be question of actual remission. Nor can there be any difficulty about it either, if there be a question of potential remission, in the sense that there has been a ransom paid, and a redemptory sacrifice offered for them; because, one redemptory sacrifice, if efficacious, must be a sacrifice of infinite value; and hence, its repetition as such, would be useless; but neither signification of the words is opposed to the repeated offering of applicatory sacrifices for sins, not yet actually remitted; the Mass, therefore, as an applicatory sacrifice, is not excluded; if so, the other means of grace, faith, hope, contrition, sacraments, should be excluded as well, on the same principle.

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